Most of the time, small-talk conversation is required for networking in the corporate world. It requires a lot of practice, but having couple of tips to get started will speed you up with the progress. Ben Stein at Yahoo! Finance did a nice piece on how to have a business conversation:
Begin by knowing that the people you’re talking to mostly want to talk about themselves.
Establish common ground.
Say kind, generous things to your conversation partner.
Keep your comments brief.
Get back on common ground again as soon as you can.
Don’t brag unless you do it in a funny way.
Unless you’re specifically asked about it, don’t talk about religion at all.
The same goes for politics.
If you talk about current issues, do so in a genial, friendly way.
Make whatever points you need to make in a hurry, and then leave.
Having a common ground can create a very good ground for building a friendly relationship and lead to many different topics to talk about. I recommend to begin with asking them many question on their background, and find the something in common.