I find in-person conversation model to be a bit strange. When the person finishes speaking, you are expected to make a response promptly. Or the person is expected to continue speaking.
Should you not speak anything you are implying that you have nothing to add.
Hence our expectations are that the human mind should be able to hear the conversation process it(analyzing the words, physical attributes, context, intent etc.)in real time, consider all possible responses to come up with an appropriate response.
If during the conversation you hear the filler phrase like: 'Nice', 'Good', 'Great', 'okaaaaayy', 'ahem'...
Its just your brain returning a 504 timeout error, implying your brain was not able to process the response in time.
Let's give this conversation styles a name. The current style of conversations are like Table Tennis. You are thrown a ball at you, you take your best shot within the time the ball reaches you. It's back to back with no wait time. Second conversation style is that of a Chess, where you make your move and let the opponent process your move. Let there be silence (read: space and time to think peacefully about what your opponent did) and then respond. If you are familiar with the work of Daniel Kahneman then: System 1 & System 2 might ring a familiar bell.
Table Tennis Conversation vs Chess Conversation
We use Table Tennis approach day in and day out from our business meetings to personal interactions. But it does not seem to be optimized for deeper meaningful outcomes. Table Tennis conversations incentives quick responses over meaningful responses.
Specially in group conversations. Imagine you are in an investment meeting and your colleague just made a really important revelation about the the investment deal you are about to make. While you are processing the information and its consequences, some other colleague might start jump in with questions, revealing additional information. Now you have accused higher processing debt with the additional information that you have. At some point in the conversation you will just give up because your processor feels it won't be able to catch up anytime soon. You join the conversation with shallow questions.
Oh! But you need to be a quick thinker bullshit?
Lets talk about Quick Thinking: Processing speed of your brain
We can play a game that tests reaction with limited information(e.g: Escape room) and see who processes the given information quickly or play a game of ping pong.
We may find two people with exactly the same processing speed. However they might have different depth of knowledge (quantity of information to process and the neural connections between those information constructing understanding and knowledge.) will take higher time in processing than someone with limited or no information. I am not implying that depth of knowledge necessarily makes for better decisions or outcome. All I am saying is that a person with higher depth of knowledge will need more time to process the new information.
So the processing power of your brain + the depth of your existing knowledge defines a part of how long it should take you to respond.
Second is the processing itself. What processes you are running with the information in the conversation:
When we get the new information, we directly or indirectly ask our brain a question adjoining the statement that we are just hearing, we are going to call it context for this post.
Our brain to responding to the context with the new information + existing depth of knowledge.
Lets take some examples:
You are in a business meeting with your CEO and your colleagues. Your context is to impress the whole team with how smart you are or your context might be to evaluate if the deal is going to make profit or not, or if the risk of new supplier is worth it at this time or to show your power in front of the team etc etc.
The conversation begins you are:
1.Processing the verbal information, analyzing what is being said.
2 Reviewing the body language of the speaker
3 Reviewing the body language and tone of everyone else in the room
4 Inferring the real meaning beyond the words that were just conveyed.
5 Check what is the right thing to do or say or ask.
6 Cross check the potential reaction of what will happen if you ask or say that? its not always the right thing to say, but what is the thing that people want to hear and that will help us achieve our goals that matter. If your brain does not get a go ahead, iterate with point 5.
7 Once finalized on what to say or ask: Consider how to frame it? You don't want to say something that will offend anyone or put them on defensive mode. Hence you construct the right frame for the statement or question you might want to make. Iterate couple of times till you come up with the right framing.
8. You deliver your statement.
This is a lot of processing. Point no 4. makes you dig deep into your existing knowledge of the subject at hand (Example you are making an investment deal in an automobile company, you will need to bring out all the information about that company. Point no 6 & 7 digs into your past experience of human reactions and emotions and makes your cross checks with each(or relevant) persona in the room to see how they will react. (I am sure our brain has created an index from the log files of all our interactions we have had in our past, still it is expected to happen pretty fast. )
If one is not good at conversations, its okay your brain is just processing a lot of information. On the other hand it should be completely okay to record the conversation and take long pauses in the conversations should we need to.