Are you interested in attending a networking event, conference, or training, but not sure how to convince your boss to fund the trip? You’ve come to the right place!
Cost to attend a conference includes more than just registration. You will have to factor in travel, lodging, and time away from work. All things considered, your manager will want to hear thoughtful justifications for your attendance. Convincing any manager to let you attend a conference is all about being persuasive and communicating how the conference will benefit your organization.
Here are some simple steps you can take to help you prepare your request:
Step 1: Familiarize yourself with the agenda and speakers.
Before you discuss the conference with your boss, you’ll want to be sure you’ve thoroughly explored the conference agenda and speakers.
Familiarize yourself with all the options available and start thinking about which sessions align best with your organization’s objectives and aspirations. Ask yourself: what are our short-term and long-term goals? Then, determine which sessions are likely to contribute to these goals.
Step 2: Create a sample agenda with a list of workshops and sessions you’d like to attend.
Create an outline of your selections with a brief justification for each choice. In your justifications, be specific.
Here’s an example we came up with for one of our past events:
You could say something like “Attending the “Taking Measurable Actions for Health Equity” session aligns with our department’s goal to reduce health disparities in our community. As a participant in this session, I will engage in small group experiential learning and learn how the Results Based Accountability performance improvement framework can be applied as a simple method for helping organizations and programs to move from talk to measurable actions to create health equity. The method presented has been used by government agencies around the country who are experiencing the kinds of improvements we’d like to make.”
You may also want to think about which speakers you’d like to network with. Create a list of 5 speakers who will have the most relevant knowledge to share, and develop a few questions you’d like to ask them. You can use this list of speakers and questions as another tool to help you prove that the conference will be a worthwhile experience and that you are prepared to make the most of it.
Step 3: Outline your top three reasons for attending.
You will want to explain to your boss as succinctly as possible why the conference is unique and why it is worth attending. Here are some example value statements we offered our guests for our last event (Results for Health 2018 – Asheville, North Carolina) to help them justify attendance:
- You will gain practical skills and learn proven methods for improving your performance. To deliver on your organization’s mission, you must ensure you are using the most strategic methods that are proven to get results. At Results for Health 2018, you will learn from other health sector leaders who are using Results-Based Accountability to improve the quality of their programs and services and improve public health. Attending the conference will provide you with skills, knowledge, and methods to move your plans forward.
- Learning from real success stories means you will save time and money trying to figure out what works. Many organizations waste time going through a lot of trial and error before discovering the formula to success. A good conference will challenge your current way of thinking, but will also provide you with actionable advice and takeaways. At Results for Health 2018, our speakers will challenge you to think critically about your work. They will also provide you with actions and advice you can start using immediately.
- This is a networking opportunity you can’t miss. Some of the country’s top public health, accountability, performance improvement, and collaboration experts will be at Results for Health 2018. You will have the opportunity to interact with leaders in your field, learn from each other’s challenges and successes, and create lasting connections.
Step 4: Send a formal request letter to your boss (if required).
A good request letter contains all the necessary information your boss needs to make an informed decision:
- You should be upfront in your introduction and state your top three reasons for attending.
- You should articulate how the event will benefit you, your organization, and any relevant initiatives.
- Consider including a few sessions you’d like to attend and a list of 5 speakers you’d like to network with.
- You should also include an estimated cost breakdown. (how much do you need for travel, meals, lodging?. This will provide you with a negotiating tool; your boss may be willing to send you if you can find a way to reduce meal or lodging costs.)
Download a real letter that helped one of our Results for Health Attendees Get Permission!
We hope you’ve found these tips helpful! Help other readers of this blog post; please share any other methods below that you’ve found to be successful.
This blog was inspired by the two articles below. Check them out for more great tips on how to convince your boss to let you attend a conference: