Ghen saidPractice makes perfect?
Agree that's prolly the most important, though the other suggestions here are good, too. (Well, except perhaps for quoting movie serial killers) I'm a guy who went from being very shy to very sociable, and it really was a matter of practice makes perfect, at least for me.
I think you also have to keep whispering to yourself to push yourself forward. You don't wanna become an obnoxious over-compensator, obviously, but you gotta have this little guy in the back of your mind who reminds you "Don't sit like a lump!" "Open your mouth, say something!"
I've met literally dozens of men & women through online social networking, including the gay guy who brought me out, and my late & current partners. I've met a few RJ guys, too, and it was very easy. It helped that they were friendly, charming, conversant and fun to be with.
A specific technique I've learned is to be genuinely interested in the other person, to be very "pro-active" in asking them about things. I used to be just the opposite, totally passive, so that if you wanted to tell me about yourself and what you did, it was up to you to do it on your own. I think it was partly a mark of my own ego and self-centered attitude, and insecurity.
Then I realized that most people are genuinely interesting, and are flattered when you show an interest in them, and pay attention to their stories enough to ask meaningful questions. It's part of the art of conversation.
And guess what? Once you do that, most will reciprocate with you. I rarely have to volunteer relating what I've done recently, or about me in general. First I take the initiative to ask them, then they ask me. And before you know it, you're swapping stories like old friends.
I will confess that the very first time meeting someone from online produces a bit of tension for me. But I know the initial breaking the ice only lasts for a few moments, and we'll be having a great time very quickly. Gay men are SO easy to meet in person, they really do half the work for you. Have fun!