This might not apply directly to your field, but as an introvert and a rather socially awkward person, what could I do to just keep a conversation going with someone I just met? I find it just as difficult to do it with people of my gender yet have no problem talking to people i know well. – dayafterpi

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.