Are you dying to attend a conference, but you're not sure how to convince your manager to let you go? Help is here!
Remember that the cost of attending a conference is considerable. That total includes conference registration fees, travel costs, hotel, and time-away-from-work costs. It's likely your managers will want some serious justification for you to attend a conference.
Getting approval to attend the conference is a two-part endeavor. In addition to showing the benefits of the conference itself, you will also want to demonstrate that YOU are the best person to attend – that you are the best person for the organization to invest professional development dollars with.
Here are some things you can prepare for your leadership to help convince them you should attend a conference or event:
Preparing Your Proposal
- Get a detailed convention program and outline the sessions you plan to attend and how they will benefit your work. Be specific. (i.e. The funny motivational speaker's speech about social media marketing- If I learn more about social media I will be able to use it more effectively in my marketing efforts.)
- Find out what Continuing Professional Development Credits/CEUs will be granted for attending the conference sessions.
- If necessary, have a plan for who will cover for you at work while you are at the conference.
Getting the Most out of a Conference
- Research the conference speakers, humorous motivational speaker or other industry guest speakers and have specific questions lined up relevant to their speech topics and your work or industry.
- Find out what other industry competitors are attending the event to prove it is a ‘must-attend’ event. Suggest to your manager that networking with these competitors will be invaluable.
- Get a list of specific vendors whose products would be beneficial to your job, then jot down questions you have about their products or services and present this to your manager. Visiting with a vendor can be like interviewing a high priced consultant for free!
Communicate and Share Your Findings
- Tweet about the conference speakers, guest speakers,agenda, venue.
- Offer to share a room to reduce hotel expenses.
- Have specific follow up objectives and strategies you plan to implement after the conference guest speakers.
- Have a plan to share what you have learned. Who will you tell? How will you communicate? ( i.e.- You will spend 10 minutes at the next staff meeting speaking about new industry trends presented at the conference; or write an article for your newsletter, or offer to write a blog about the guest speakers. Multiply the company's investment.)
- Prepare a presentation of the major take-away to other staff members and/or your boss. Documenting and presenting key takeaways from the motivational keynote speaker and guest speakers with enthusiasm that invokes change and improvement can really help ease the approval process in year 2. There has to be measurable change and improvement from attending if you want to get approval for next year or for the next event.
- Justify the cost of the conference by comparing it to other educational courses and offerings. Almost any alternative will prove to be more time consuming and expensive.
- Visit the humorous motivational speaker's website, read and comment on the blog (we love this) and start some conversation before the event.
If you are prepared and organized your enthusiasm will show through. Your manager will send you packing to attend the next great convention. If you need more meeting planner resources, find them here.
This blog was updated on December 26th, 2018 and originally posted on August 2, 2011.