Everyone gives you what I call “vocal triggers.” Every sentence gives you a clue to where you can take the next part of the conversation. If they say, “I’ve only lived here for a few months” you can follow up with “Where were you before? or What made you want to move here? or How many places have you lived in.” If you listen well, they are telling you all you need to know about what they like to discuss. Also, have 3 safes zones of conversation that you can steer to when in doubt. What three things do you know a lot about and feel comfortable talking about? For instance, 1) where you’re from 2) your hobby and 3) animals/travel/games/sports. That way, if you reach a lull, you can steer it towards those area.