As an employee, there are plenty of reasons you probably want to attend a conference. Conferences are great learning opportunities, and you can network. They’re also a good way to stay ahead of trends in your industry, and a lot of conferences are just cool experiences.
They tend to be in fun locations, and they have a lot to offer personally and professionally.
The best conferences also tend to come with high price tags, so how can you convince your boss to let you go while your company foots the bill?
Calculate the Costs
First and foremost, before you request approval for a conference, calculate all the costs. These are the numbers your boss is going to want to see as they make a decision.
You can start with even the small things, like figuring out the costs for transportation, and then include costs for lodging and the cost of the conference itself.
When you send a formal letter to your boss, you can include an estimated cost breakdown. For example, how much will Uber or Lyft cost? How much will airfare cost? What about lodging and meals? Do you have ideas to reduce costs if necessary?
Get To Know the Conference
Before you submit a formal request, you need to know the details of the conference. For example, who are the speakers? What’s the agenda?
What options will be available to you and what sessions will be best suited to your objectives, but also the objectives of your employers.
Outline Your Top Reasons For Attending
Your objective when you’re requesting to attend a conference is to convince your boss that it is going to have business value for the entire company, not just for you.
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the details of the conference, come up with three very specific reasons it would be beneficial for you to attend.
Make sure you’re linking these with business objectives.
Your boss will be looking at this as an investment and will want to see what the ROI will be. Ensure you’re ready to demonstrate this.
Tell your boss what it is that you’re going to bring back with you following the conference.
Show How You’ll Meet Your Other Responsibilities
Along with the cost, a big reason a lot of bosses don’t approve requests for conferences is because they can’t have the employee out of the office.
As part of your request, let your boss know how you’ll handle your work responsibilities while you’re away. Maybe you’ll work overtime in the days leading up to the conference, or maybe you can commit to working remotely for a few hours while you’re away.
Finally, be clear and direct with your request. Formalize it in writing or an email. Otherwise, it is likely to be a decision that’s left up in the air.
Once you submit a formal request, you should be ready to compromise and negotiate, but you are more likely to get the green light than if you just dance around the subject.