Dear Loquacious One:
I realize you emphasize that being talkative is part of your personality; however, recently I have wondered if that tendency leads to interactions which keep the focus on you instead of allowing your presence to benefit others. Therefore, I would like you to consider some things to change. When we are together, it is difficult to get in a word-edgewise, so I will offer my suggestions in this letter.
Pre-plan questions concerning the interests of the person with whom you are talking. Listen to the answers and ask follow-up questions instead of anticipating what you will say next. If you notice you are monopolizing a conversation, stop and either remain silent until another person speaks or bring up one of these previously considered questions.
Count to 10 in your head before commenting. Some people weigh their responses more carefully and need a little more time before speaking.
Share the pizza. If you are having guests to your house for dinner, it would be rude if opened the box of pizza and ate it all before offering some to others. Do you remember the manners your mother taught you? Divide the portions equally. If there are 8 people in a discussion, respond only about 10-15% of the time.
Limit your answer to one topic speaking only for a minute or two instead of rambling. Don’t be like the dog that won’t give up its bone no matter how much someone tugs at it.
Don’t hijack the conversation. This occurs when you use someone else’s comment to segue into what happened to you or turn a conversation back to the subject you want to discuss.
Come with an attitude of “What can I learn from others in the group?” instead of, “How can I share my knowledge with them?” Just because you have a thought or opinion, you don’t have to speak it. Allow someone else to have the last word.
Perhaps you have been challenged to “Get out of your comfort zone” and believed that meant to be bold and speak up. Consider how my witty, introverted friend translates this for extroverts, “Sit down and listen.”