A guy I interviewed started every reply with the word “So…”
I first noticed this about 10 years ago. And I thought it was an oral tic - a mannerism - like “…like…” or “Well…”
But then it became clear to me that the politicians, and especially business leaders I was talking to, were using it as a form of avoidance.
If you ask a closed, pointed question like : “Did you know there was a hole in the accounts before you published your results?”, the satisfying response (to a journalist) is “Yes” or “No”.
Which is exactly what this chap wanted to avoid.
“So” not only gives you a bit of time to think, but is beautifully neutral, and gives the sense of following on from your question, while allowing you to say what you want to instead.
And as long as what you then say is interesting, or has other relevant information, it sounds a little less like blether, waffle or distraction.