All excellent listeners are masters of the pause. Learn to be comfortable with silence. When the other person finishes speaking, they take a breath, relax and smile before saying anything. This pause is a key part of good communications.
Pausing has three specific benefits. The first is that you avoid the risk of interrupting the other person before they have stopped to gather his or her thoughts. Remember, your primary job is to build and maintain a high level of trust, and listening builds trust. When you pause you often find the person will continue speaking. She will give you more information and further opportunity to listen, enabling you to gather more of the information so you can understand what the person really needs.
The second benefit is that your silence tells the person that you are giving careful consideration to what he or she has just said. By carefully considering the other person's words, you are paying him or her a compliment. You are implicitly saying that you consider what he or she has said to be important and worthy of quiet reflection. You make the person feel more valuable with your silence. You raise self-esteem and make them feel better about themselves.
The third benefit of pausing before replying is that you will actually hear and understand the person better if you give his or her words a few seconds to soak into your mind. The more time you take to reflect upon what has just been said, the more conscious you will be of the their real meaning. You will be more alert to how his words can connect with other things you know about the person
When you pause, not only do you become a more thoughtful person, but you convey this to the people around you. By extension, you become a more valuable person to be with. And you achieve this by simply pausing for a few seconds before you reply.