Sometimes there can be awkward silences or even a lull in conversation when it comes to us and our teenagers.
When this happens I use this slick trick called "share 2 things". I'll ask my daughter when there doesn't seem to be much to talk about at the time, or if she's being quiet for longer periods of time than normal:
Share 1 thing with me in your mind and
share 1 thing with me in your heart.
She seemed to dig the idea, and it was an easy way for her to open up, which led to conversation and relationship building. It gave me more insight, and it showed her that I am continually interested and open to chatting, and that I care about what's going on in that mind and heart of hers.
She was more than willing to share, and it was entertaining for me to see her have to think about what she was going to share!
This is something that could even be done daily and even with younger kids--try it and comment to let me know how it went.