How to justify attending a conference to your boss

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

  1. Show your boss the conference programming.
    Go through the sessions with your boss, pointing out the relevant education sessions. Mention that the conference provides you many chances to talk to industry experts and knowledgeable vendors so the learning isn’t limited to the classrooms.
  2. Spread the wealth!
    Tell your boss that you will take notes capturing important ideas and best practices that apply to your organization. You can then make your notes and materials available to colleagues, or even present your findings to others in your organization.
  3. Return on investment.
    When convincing your boss you should attend, don’t focus on the cost, but on the return. How much might one great idea be worth to the success of your organization or clients? How about that one important contact?
  1. Help with the costs. 
    If you believe the conference is needed for your professional development, then you should 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 is valuable to your organization, you’ll dramatically improve your odds.