Water cooler conversations - or small talk as it it often called, is something we have to deal with on the daily. Just by living life we are going to have to meet people and strangers and its impossible to avoid the small talk that follows. It sucks: it can be dreadfully disingenous, super awkward and half the time you don't even want to be there.
As an intern, small talk will 100% occur whether you like it or not. You'll be out and about networking as an intern, working on projects and just generally will have to speak with people.
But what if I told you that you can become a super star intern without having to resort small talk?
It's simple really:
Treat everyone like your best friend.
Woah Woah Woah. Please. What does that mean???!
Interactions in general are just a switch of perspective anyway. If you can find the little button in your mind that let's you react in certain ways according to the situation then you are golden.
For example think about the interactions you have with your family and friends. Are they ever forced? Do you have to formulate your thoughts and become a nervous wreck and overthink those conversations?
Does it ever feel like small talk?
No. It's because you are comfortable - conversations with people you feel like you know and accept you are for the most part easy and not awkward. Apart from when your parents try to teach you about the birds and the bees - that's never comfortable and you leave more confused than ever (RIP Chat with my Dad)
In any event the key to mastering water cooler conversations and small talk, is to train yourself to view every interaction the sames as if you were chating with your best mate.
Greet people warmly, be relaxed and make sure your tonaility and body language is on point. Ask a tonne of questions if you ever run out of things to say and remember that silence isnt always the enemy.
And then just.. chat.