From a master of words! What happens in a pause? We can breathe and listen, both internally and externally. That pause may make all the difference in what ensues from there.
I'm a big advocate of breathing. Yes, we've been doing it our whole lives, but unless you've put some effort into learning it, most folks don't know how to breathe to their best advantage. Trust me--as a yoga teacher, I know this! You can change how you feel just by altering your breath. For example, making exhales longer than inhales is a calming practice. Using the breath in a "rightly timed pause" can make the difference between a successful interaction and a complete breakdown in communication with escalating animosity.
I also think of the pause or rest in music. Each one is equally important as the notes surrounding it. Music would not be the same without rests.
I would offer that in most interactions, listening is the better choice. Shut up. Pause and listen. That's a "note to self" that I need this morning!