I built a low effort tool to help HNers network with each other, it’s a good way to start practicing: https://findkismet.com
Not "Do you like Node.js?"
But "I like how Node.js has evolved in the last 3 years. I don't care much for React though. I'd rather take on more Functional Programming gigs."
Questions, even the best open ended ones may put the answerer on the spot. Better to model your expected response by answering the question first yourself.
Person 1: "What did you think of the talk?"
Person 2: "It was ok." (Kind of a knee-jerk almost blow off response)
Person 1: "The talk was better than the morning keynote. I liked how she talked about how the technical debt at her company was so large they had to declare Chapter 11 Technical bankruptcy. I worked at a place that had a similar situation. I felt chills." (pause)
Person 1: "I didn't get why she could not get approval for.."
If you don't pause, you won't give them an entry into the conversation. Some people won't interject or interrupt.