So, the other side of this coin is to notice when you are holding someone else captive audience.
I know what you’re thinking.
“Who? Me? That’s crazy! Absolutely everybody loves to hear stories about my ant farm! Why, I’m certain that if I could just get ahold of those folks from “The Discovery Channel”, they would give me my own reality show in an instant.”
Err… Ummm… Probably not.
The best way I know how to keep from holding others captive audience, is to check in with them before hand to see if they are interested.
The process is simple, once you condition yourself to notice what it is you want to share with the other person.
For example, while at a cocktail party, you might share with an acquaintance that you have an ant farm, and simply leave it at that. At this point, you could wait to see if they are interested enough to ask further questions, therefore indicating that they are actually interested. (Or possibly just avoiding other conversations at the party) Or, you could ask them if you could share about what you love/find fascinating about your ant farm.
If the other person says they are interested, feel free to proceed with your story.
Make certain to check in periodically, as your enthusiasm might have you get carried away. I find it’s best to let them ask the questions, and answer only what they have asked. That way you know when they’ve had enough.
BONUS POINTS: I find rather than talking about an object (such as your ant farm) it’s best to speak of what it is that has you inspired about it. Share your genuine enthusiasm about the topic, then check in with the person your speaking with about some shared enthusiasm. If the conversation is flowing back and forth, there’s less of a chance that you are holding someone else “captive audience”.