Winter Is Coming (to a conference room near you)
Andrew Klein, professional MC and presentation skills speaker and director of SPIKE Presentations, presents his front line observations on conferences in a regular feature in BEN.
OK, I admit, I’m using a shameless Game of Thrones reference to get your attention and I’m jumping on the GOT zeitgeist bandwagon by citing their catch-phrase “Winter Is Coming.”
But the winter I refer to is not one of impending doom, (Spoiler Alert) Crumbling Ice-Walls, Ice-Zombies and blue-fire breathing Ice-Dragons. I’m referring here to the number one question asked by conference delegates, to event organisers, usually around morning tea time of day one.
“Can we turn the air-con down a little?”
I’d hazard a guess that this one specific question gets asked in pretty much every hotel ballroom in every conference all over the country, all year round. For reasons unknown to me (and to be fair there may be an engineering reason or mechanical explanation that I am unaware of) the air conditioning at the start of a conference always seems to be turned up way too high. Is it a hidden technique to ensure people don’t doze off during a dull presentation? Does a frosty room subliminally force us to pay attention? Surely it can’t be a cost saving device? Is it hard to judge how high or low the room temperature should be?
I know not Jon Snow. Sorry, that was another GGOTR, (gratuitous Game of Thrones reference).
Surely hotel banquet or conference staff know the right, most comfortable room temperature for standard numbers of delegate attendances. And it makes no difference whether it’s a Darwin conference where outside the temperature is pushing 30 or a chilly Hobart conference. The inside room temp never seems quite right. I was working at a conference in the USA last month and they had exactly the same issue, so it’s clearly not an Aussie thing.
Most conferences get it right by the middle of day one, by which time delegates have already thawed off out in the sun over morning tea or trotted back to their hotel rooms to grab a jacket - one they then have to remove in the next session, when the ballroom temp becomes too hot!
Yes I know, first world problem. But what’s the solution? No idea, but I’d love someone in the know to enlighten me. Until then, if you’re heading off soon to the Gold Coast, Cairns, Hamilton Island or Alice Springs for a conference, pack your fur coat, even though Summer Is Coming.