A lot of smart, hardworking, observant, and otherwise interesting people are conversationally awkward. Even though they do and read about lots of interesting stuff, they never seem to have much to talk about. Which is weird because these are some of the people who should have the most to talk about.
I know this problem well. The good news is, it’s one of the easiest personal stumbling blocks to overcome. In fact, you probably already do it, only with bad form. It’s a one sentence fix:
Hey, I was just reading that [someone/thing did something/said something]. What do you think about that?
Unless the other person is totally uninterested in having a conversation with you, a conversation will start immediately after you say this. If the other person is interesting, you may not even need to do much talking [and as an added bonus, the person who loves to hear themselves talk will instantly like you just for asking their opinion about something and then actually listening].
Easy. Conversation has started. Awkwardness avoided. When you get to that conversational lull, repeat. If you don’t have something else to bring up [really? Nothing?] you can just tweak whatever the original question was. i.e. Well sure, but what if X was Y.
Ideally though, you’ll insert personal stories, experiences, thoughts, and opinions to keep that original conversation flowing into new areas, where you can ask more questions.
So, get on your way to being less awkward and go start some conversations.