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.

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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.

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