I am comfortable in silence, and I have no trouble connecting with people, but I really wish I had the skills to be able to talk to anyone, anytime. Fortuitously, I came across a book this morning about "small talk" - something in which I could use some improvement.This is what I learned:
1) Small talk is the gateway to deep talk which is intuitively obvious, but something I did not realize before.
2) There is a technique that has worked on me from people expert in small talk: make eye contact, smile, exchange a greeting including names, remember the other person's name (hard for me as I am a visual person), ask open-ended questions such as, "What do you think about...?"
3) Use an ice-breaker such as, "How did you become interested in...?" or "What would you do if you weren't doing what you do...?"
To sum up, be a good listener and show an interest in the other person's ideas.