Beat the heat: 6 tips for staying cool at summer congresses

Here in Europe, we are really spoiled when it comes to atmosphere: Our cities are literally built on millennia of culture, because our ancestors had great taste when it came to their living quarters. In Vienna, the streets seem to be lined with palaces, so those in search of a truly special meeting venue, often choose a palace or castle for their event.

Those historic halls only have one downside: For reasons of monument conservation, installing air conditioning can be difficult. If you’re lucky, the heat will spread out in the ample spaces, but when temperatures rise above 30 degrees Celsius, breezy architecture alone is not enough. With years’ experience of working in all kinds of climates, we have prepared six tips that will help you keep your delegates’ minds open for education – even in hot weather.

1.    Open a window

We know, you probably could have thought of this yourself. Still, we’d like to dedicate some space to this classic solution. First of all, open windows let in a refreshing breeze, and secondly, letting in some actual fresh air that hasn’t been recycled through air conditioning, can improve concentration and circulation. Remember to check with the venue first, how and by whom the windows can be opened – sometimes this is the responsibility of designated staff members. Of course, potential sources of noise pollution in the vicinity need to be kept in mind. A good compromise is airing out the rooms during coffee breaks, when the noise level tends to be higher anyway.

2.    Portable air conditioners

Just as portable radiant heaters can keep you warm in winter, portable air conditioners can help keep you cool in the summer. They can be moved around and an electrical socket is all they need to be fully functional. Portable air conditioners are suitable for smaller rooms in particular. Many venues with limited air conditioning already have several of these in stock. If not, you can always rent them from an external supplier.

3.    Be a fan of fans

The best way to keep the heat in check is manually and individually. This is why we always bring a bunch of fans with us to our summer congresses that we give out to delegates for free. Depending on finish, the fans are good value for money, portable and can be re-used. They can also be customized with logos and clever messages to make your event or organization shine. Personalized fans keep your delegates cool in a discreet and stylish manner and also serve as a memento from the congress to take home.

4.    Cool Biz

The term “Cool Biz” was coined in Japan as part of a campaign to help reduce electricity consumption by limiting the use of air conditioning. During the summer months, Japanese office workers are allowed to ditch the suit and tie in favour of short sleeves. Follow their example by leaving that three piece suit at home and encourage your delegates to do the same. There are various ways of dressing that are airy and still businesslike.

5.   Stay hydrated

When it’s hot, we sweat and when we sweat, our bodies lose water. Therefore, it is essential to drink enough water, even when you’re at a congress. You can rent water dispensers which can then be placed at strategic points in the venue and allow your delegates to take as much water as they need for free. The water coolers can be personalized with logos and messages and help spread the name of your organization or sponsors.

6.    Shut out the sun, if necessary

When sunlight meets window glass, this leads to a greenhouse effect, which makes the inside of a building heat up. To prevent this effect, rooms can be shaded by blinds or curtains to keep the searing rays from reaching you in the first place. Sadly, darkness isn’t known for being a mood lifter, at least not when it’s nice and sunny outside. This strategy is best for pre- and post-congress times and in-between lectures or when the lights need to be dimmed for a presentation.

As you can see, just because it’s hot outside, doesn’t mean you can’t have a successful educational event. With these tricks and a few well-placed measures, you’ll be the coolest organizer in town.