Great nonconfrontational conversation starters at parties include talking about the weather, the home team or family pets. Try to stay clear of controversial topics such as religion and politics. Engaging in small talk such as "Where are you from" and "What are you drinking" is a good way to find common interests.
"What if" questions are a great way to engage multiple people into joining a conversation and gaining more information on what topics might interest them. Asking "If you could meet any person in history, who would it be and why?" answers the question about who their role model might be and what issues are important to them. If someone picks Albert Einstein, the conversation can segue into recent news or past issues on science or philosophy. If someone picks a famous movie star, talking about pop culture can keep a conversation going.
A friendly topic everyone enjoys talking about is vacation. Ask a person about her last vacation and the highlights. If a person went off to an exotic country, ask her about her favorite meal or moment. If a vacation was spent at home relaxing, ask the person if she completed any home improvement projects, learned any new recipes, or what she did to relax.