4 Tips for Convincing Your Boss to Send You to a Conference
You’ve found the industry conference you want to attend. You know the content at the event is going to help you grow your skills and become a more effective employee, and in your mind, the capital and time expenditure is clearly justified. So why is it not that easy to get your boss to agree?
Some managers may instead hear, “So I want to go to Las Vegas for a few days, it’s going to cost a lot of money, and I won’t be able to get my regular work done.” It’s up to you to shift that perspective.
Here are four tips for convincing your boss to send you to a conference.
1. Speak to your boss in terms they can relate to
When asking to go to the conference, you should be able to talk about the investment (what it’s going to cost) and the return on investment (what you’re going to get out of it).
ROI can be more of a challenge to determine, but there are several factors you can explore:
- Are there sessions you plan to attend that will help solve a business problem? What is that problem currently costing the organization?
- Are the vendors for any of your current tools or technologies going to be there? You could learn how to better utilize those tools to their full benefit
- Is your organization in the market for a new tool or service? Volunteer to start the vetting process at the event, potentially saving your boss (or even their boss) time and money
- Talking with others in the industry can help you find people who’ve had challenges similar to ones you’re facing and learn how they resolved them
- Many conferences allow you one-on-one time with experts or free mini-consulting. This concentrated time can put you on the track to solving your organizational challenges
2. Solve the productivity issue
Don’t ask your boss to figure out how your work will get done while you’re at the conference. Come with a plan in place detailing what you will do before you leave, how much work will need to be picked up by others, and who you have lined up to cover that work. Know the answers before they even worry about it.
3. Speak to the “soft” benefits
If others from your organization are going to the same conference, speak about the teamwork and bonding aspect. If not, highlight the sense of appreciation you would feel from being valued enough to attend. Would this re-energize you in your role?
4. Offer to train the team
Commit to bringing information back to share with the rest of the group, and be prepared to outline how you will do that. This way your manager understands that by sending you to a conference, it’s an investment in the whole team.
When you want to attend a conference, it comes down to helping the manager see what they are going to get out of it. Looking for benefits that are important to your boss will increase your chances of getting that “yes.”