My friend Tony wrote to me about this issue. It relates to telling people that you are going to give them space to think and respond, but then breaking up the silence with additional comments. So easy to do, so annoying for the listener.
1. A break can be a powerful time. Giving people 30 seconds, or two minutes, or whatever, to respond to the message can be an effective means of allowing the message to sink in and response to be formulated. Rather than an overt show of response, it allows for individuals to pray, to reflect, to allow God to search their hearts, etc.
2. The speaker usually feels the instructions were slightly unclear. This leads to added comments coming as interjections that break up the silent period. There is no intent to annoy, but only to clarify and help nudge people in the right direction.
3. Interruptions are generally exasperating. Listeners are used to hearing your voice, but they are not used to being quiet and processing for themselves. It takes time to switch gears and “go there.” An interruption is not like pressing pause on the CD player, meaning that the break continues when pause is pressed again. It is like pressing skip back on the CD, so that they have to start again. Do that several times and people will be exasperated!
4. If you promise a period of silence, give that full period. There is nothing unspiritual about the preacher checking his watch to make sure he follows through properly. (Just as there is nothing unspiritual about using your car to get to church in the first place!)