By Steve Moran

If there is a single massive gap in the world of senior living conferences (all conferences), it is how to create a more favorable environment for meaningful networking. Networking does happen, though I would argue not nearly as well as it could, with many conference veterans skipping all or most of the programming in favor of conversations with friends and colleagues.

Two Problems

There are at least two problems with this:

  1. Many participants end up missing out on valuable and important content. At some conferences the content is pretty basic so not much is missed, but at others like NIC, the content has bottom-line impacting value.
  2. Most of the networking that occurs is with people who already know each other. It is great for those leaders, sort of . . . but not so great for people who are either new to a conference or not natural gatherers.

This becomes a huge problem because it means the regular and effective networkers miss out on learning from those other people, who end up having a less than wonderful conference experience and miss out on the wisdom of the veterans.

That NIC Fix

It happens more at big conferences like NIC, than small ones, but every time I leave a conference, I leave feeling like there is probably one more person I don’t know but should have met and I know this is true for others. I am not sure it is possible to ever completely make this problem go away but NIC is taking a big step at the Spring Conference in San Diego to make it better.


Braindates is a platform for creating either one-on-one or small group (3-5 people) discussions with people who have an interest in talking about a specific topic but may not know each other. The braindate platform allows you to meet and connect with others who share a topic interest and they have dedicated space for you to meet. The length of time is preset at 30 minutes for 2 people and 45 minutes for groups.

You can read about it here at NIC’s braindate page, and the platform is now live! I am pretty pumped up about this and am already thinking about topics I would like to participate in:

  • The relationship between culture and occupancy
  • The role of residential assisted living in the senior living ecosystem
  • How senior living will need to change in order to attract Boomers
  • How to create more meaningful, purposeful life enrichment programs
  • Who is going to win the presidential election — just kidding, that one is not on my list
  • I just want to meet some people I have not met before, not sure if I can do that one

There is a quick little video that explains how it works on THIS page

And I am looking forward to seeing you in San Diego in just a few weeks and maybe even having a braindate with you.