Although it is not actually a magnet, the office water cooler attracts a lot of attention. While the main purpose is to offer fresh, refrigerated water to refresh employees, it has become an important part of today’s office culture. The fastest way to find out about something is still through water cooler talk, although the internet is quickly gaining as the go-to source.
What makes the water cooler king in any office setting is that you can share, learn, discover and hear about a lot of different things about the people you work with. Most of which will never make it to Google anytime soon. However, it is easy to fall prey to those who use the cooler to their advantage so here are a few rules to keep you safe during water cooler talk sessions.
Focus On Safe Topics
There are several discussion topics that are generally considered safe and neutral. Keeping your conversations around the water cooler focused on them will keep you from becoming a target. This is especially true if you are still a relatively new hire. The last thing you need is to be pinned as a gossip or troublemaker. But what are considered the safe and neutral topics?
1 – Talking About Family
Not only is discussing one’s family a safe place to venture in water cooler talk, it will help you to learn a little more about the people you share office space with. Don’t be pushy, try not to brag too much and stick to general questions about family. Personal family matters are out of bounds at the water cooler so be sure to steer clear of things that start to go in that direction.
2 – Last Night’s Game
There is nothing that assists the office staff in bonding better than some playful conversation around the water cooler about last night’s football/hockey game. In fact, sports are a good topic for conversation at just about any time. You may discover small rivalries between co-workers and the teams they cheer and you may get invited over to watch the next game.
3 – The Dud of A Movie
Movies, television and just about any kind of form of entertainment make for great conversation with co-workers. Even if you are the only fan of one film director or actor or comedy series, it opens the door to get to know the people you work with on a very different level. Plus, everyone is a fan of something. You may find a new friend in the bunch based on your favourite movies.
4 – Play Time, Fun Time
The things you do for enjoyment are a good source of water cooler talk. This can be your hobbies, pastimes, and even where you go on holidays or just to get away for a day. Everyone you work with has a story about their favourite whatever-it-is-they-like-to-do and will want to share it with anyone interested in listening. This is always good and makes the day pass quickly.
Levels The Playing Field
One of the many benefits of getting to know your co-workers in casual conversation around the water cooler is that it puts everyone on the same page. Even if you can’t agree on the project you are working on, everyone will have an opinion on the best restaurant, movie or sports team. These are the things you should be talking about at work instead of about each other.