Turning Monolog into Dialog

Many thanks  to the Harrisburg Adults with ADHD Support Group for their warm response to my ADHD and Relationship/Social Issues presentation on Wednesday night.  There was a record turnout and wonderful audience participation!  We discussed strategies for about eighteen common issues.  Monologuing is one of them. Sometimes we get so engrossed in what we’re talking about that we go on for far longer than we intended – and far longer than our audience can stay interested.  We feel driven to fully express our thoughts before they escape.  The other person doesn’t have a chance to speak.  This usually has a negative effect on our listeners, and ultimately, our relationships. Monologuing is an ADHD behavior that many people aren’t even aware they have.  If you suspect it might be a factor in your interpersonal difficulties, here are some pointers.

  • Consider your audience when deciding how much detail to get into.   If you're really into cars, but the people you're talking to are not, just tell them you drive an Audi (or whatever) and let it go at that.
  • Practice becoming aware of how long you've been talking.   Noticing is the first step to making change.
  • Practice "bottom lining", or getting right to the point.  Is all that background information really important?
  • Insert deliberate pauses into your speech.  Say a few sentences, then stop for a second. That way if anyone has something to add, they have a chance.
  • Look for indication that your audience is still with you.  Are they smiling, nodding, asking questions?
  • Ask a friend in advance to redirect the conversation if you’ve gone on for too long.  Or agree on a way he or she can signal you.

Some of these skills may need to be learned because they don’t come naturally.  Try practicing them alone, role play with a friend, or experiment in easy situations like talking with a sales person.  That way, you'll be prepared the next time you find yourself monologuing. I've been talking for long enough now, so it's time to close.  Make it a dialog by posting a comment to let me know what you think!  I'd love to hear from you.