Perhaps I can help - when it comes to friendly conversation, luckily I am not shy at all. I've never given out advice like this before though, so if it sounds stupid I apologize!
• For people you have never met before, don't forget to introduce yourself/ask their name. That way if you see them again it won't be awkward!
• Although George Costanza does this in one Seinfeld episode and gets ridiculed by Jerry, think of good things to say beforehand. For example, I am going to a new year's party this weekend (!!terrifying!!) and am planning on asking everyone how their Christmas was, if they got anything cool, what day they're going back to uni, etc. Even my social-butterfly sister does this. And hell, I rehearse entire conversations in my head!
• Talk about things you and the other person may have in common. Or talk about something in the environment, even just something like "It's really gross outside today!"
• Sometimes I'm tongue-tied around friends, in which case I literally just say, "I don't know what to talk about." With a stranger this might be weird, but my friends always smile when I say this.
• Don't feel bad if it doesn't work out. Often it's the other person who's a bad conversationalist! If they don't seem interested: they're having a bad day, they're a ****, or they're worse at small talk than you. Seriously.
Wow, sorry to rant so much! Hope this helps a bit, I'm definitely no expert on the subject but I like to help out