In short, it’s awkward. It makes people uncomfortable especially when you’re with someone you don’t know. But silence can be your best ally when it comes to interviewing.
Follow through the checklist of a good interview that Filak discusses.
You’ve found your source through a credible means. Check.
You’ve met at a neutral location. Check.
You’ve whipped out your (already prepared) questions for your source. Check.
And you receive a less than spectacular answer to your perfectly delivered question.
Instead of jumping in trying to push the subject to the answer you want, just sit there. It’ll be awkward, sure. But it might lead you to a new story.
People cannot stand awkward silence, and more than likely your source will try to fill it with more elaboration or a better answer. Silence can be your best ally in and interview if you know how to use it correctly.