Been paying a little more attention to the way conversations unfold lately. This goes both for those I'm involved with myself and those I happen to overhear (OK, I'm eavesdropping). Unless you want a fair share of conversations to grind to a halt, I suggest NOT trying the below at home or elsewhere.
* Eliminating talk of the weather. No news, I know. But also: I suggest not eliminating one of my family's favorites = roads and bridges, aka how did you get here today or to so and so a place last week, etc. Being very cutting edge, my family has recently expanded this rich vein to discussions of Mapquest, etc.
* Avoiding discussions of food or family or family food favorites or where/what you ate yesterday, the day before, on your honeymoon etc. Somehow my family manages to get to roads and bridges from these topics as well. ("I ate at Lubrano's last week" "Really? How did you get there?")
* Interjecting any of the taboos many of us have learned to avoid. To that venerable list I would add any mention of the color red or blue. I still get these two mixed up and that has contributed to at least one recent conversation where I was later handed a pamphlet for the John Birch Society.
If there are any conversational counter-revolutionaries out there, I'd be interested in hearing of your efforts to sustain a conversation should you try any of these things in the near future. I also encourage you to eavesdrop. Aside from getting some juicy stuff, I think you'll get support for these reflections.