Justifying Attendance

You want to attend a conference, but in these economic times you’re not sure how to approach your boss. The best way to improve your chances for a “yes” is to approach your boss armed with all of the facts.

  • Highlight the Content Go through the sessions with your boss, pointing out the relevant education sessions and how the information may help you with your job or benefit the organization as a whole.
  • Identify Resources If available, review speaker lists, attendee lists and vendor lists. Identify connections you can make with people or organizations. Share with your employer and emphasize that the conference provides the chance to talk to industry experts and knowledgeable vendors so the learning isn’t limited to the programming.
  • Spread the Wealth Tell your boss that you will take notes capturing important ideas and best practices that apply to your organization. You can make your notes and materials available to colleagues or even present your findings to others in your organization.
  • Demonstrate Return on Investment When convincing your boss you should attend, don’t focus on the cost, but on the return. How much is that one great idea worth to the success of your organization or clients? How about that one important contact? Is your company looking for new staff? Conferences offer great recruitment opportunities too.
  • Help with the Costs If you believe the conference is needed for your professional development, then you should want to attend, regardless of who pays. Offer to cover some of the costs. Or, ask just for the time off without having to use up vacation time.

Take this opportunity to explain exactly what you want to get out of the conference and, more importantly, how that will benefit your work and your organization. Your boss may not say “yes,” but if you know what you want, are sincere, and can demonstrate why attending the conference is valuable to your organization, you’ll dramatically improve your odds.