By Steve Moran
Going to conferences is a big investment of time and money. We know for sure there is a lot of value spending time talking to old and new friends or colleagues or walking the trade show floor. But a good portion of every conference is dedicated to sessions. Therefore, it’s important that we walk away from the conference feeling like the content is relevant, the speakers provide valuable detail, and there’s something tangible we can walk away with. Net is: attendees want to feel like they got their money’s worth.
This is a challenge that every single senior living conference deals with -- it requires a lot of thought and creativity to keep things interesting. It is why you see conference hosts experimenting with new formats because their goal is to serve conference attendees in the best possible way. This can be tough because conference attendees show up with very different needs and at very different places in their careers.
Vendor needs are very different from operator needs.
Vendor CEO needs are not the same as operator needs and they are not the same as salespeople needs.
CEOs don’t have the same needs as executive directors or marketing directors
New CEOs don’t have the same needs as long-time CEOs.
Start-up leaders don’t have the same needs as those in long-established organizations
Not-for-profit leaders and for-profit leaders have both different needs and different perspectives.
How NIC is Dealing with the Problem
I am a NIC fanboy for lots of reasons, but in particular, because they have a lot of content sessions that really push capital providers and operators to think about things in new and different ways. They are frequently tinkering with ways to create better content and deliver that content in new and compelling ways. Some examples:
- You likely know about the NIC Talks, which are TED-style conversations. You can access them HERE.
- They’ve also done what they called Peer-to-Peer salons, which allowed for a more intimate discussion following up on a panel discussion and, in the Spring, held the first ever “Boomer Hack-a-Thon” (which was really cool . . . and, of course, made better because I was a judge).
- The other thing NIC tried was to host something called “INNOVATIONS THAT WORK,” which are short-form “Lightning Talks” about proven innovations that are working, but not necessarily well known -- and that allow operators to better serve residents and team members.
The format is novel and compelling. Each presenter gets exactly 7 minutes and 22 seconds to present their ideas through 22 slides that advance every 20 seconds (the presenter has no control of this). It is insanely fast paced. It might sound incredibly challenging but if you are accepted as a presenter, NIC provides you a coach to help you pull this off like you have been doing it forever.
I Know You Have An Idea
I promise you that Senior Housing Forum readers are the most creative and innovative thinkers in the industry and so I am asking you to flood NIC with your submissions to be a part of this for their upcoming Fall Conference in September. You can be a vendor or a provider.
It is a very tangible way for you to make the senior living sector a little bit (or maybe even a lot) better.
I hope you will submit and you will be a part of continuing to improve the value of conferences and their sessions. You can read all about it HERE.