There are many powerful reasons to attend professional conferences—they provide opportunities for networking, learning, and they help businesses remain at the forefront of emerging trends. The downside is that conferences can cost quite a lot, and they take you away from your regular work duties. So, how do you convince your boss to send you?
Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of conferences, virtual conference options, and how to convince your boss to send you. At the end of the article, you’ll find a list of what you should include in a conference proposal to help you craft your own convincing document or email.
Reasons To Attend Professional Conferences
Build Knowledge and Skills
Conferences are filled with industry leaders, motivating talks, and insights that provide an abundance of learning opportunities. Conference attendees expand their own personal and professional development while bringing back new knowledge to their business and teammates.
Keep Up With Emerging Industry Trends
Industry standards, resources, and technology are constantly evolving. Conferences bring leaders together to share ideas and emerging trends. Attending a conference will help you keep up with the times as your industry evolves and advances.
Network and Meet Potential Customers
Networking is a pretty big buzzword, but that’s because it works. Engaging with others and meeting new people provides brand new business opportunities. You never know where you’ll meet your next customer, and conferences provide an ideal environment to meet people you might otherwise never connect with.
Connect With Like-Minded Businesses
Conferences bring together like-minded people and businesses. Attending a conference provides opportunities to meet other companies in your industry or community. The potential for collaboration is huge as you get to meet many people and businesses you could partner with or work with. You’ll have a chance to meet vendors and companies you may never have considered working with before getting to know them.
Why Attend Professional Conferences Online
The online world has made it possible to attend conferences without ever leaving the comfort of your home or office. Many conferences provide virtual access to conference materials, live talks, and recorded events. There are also conferences that are completely virtual, which can cut down on costs and provide a more flexible experience, all while helping people follow social distancing recommendations.
Distance Is No Barrier
Virtual conferences remove any geographical barriers that might prevent you from attending a conference in another city, state, or country. You can attend conferences from anywhere in the world when the materials are streamed online.
Online conferences cost less to put on, so the registration fees are usually much lower. Plus, you’ll save a good deal of money if you don't need to pay for travel and accommodation. If you know your company’s budgets are limited, choosing an online conference is a good place to start. The costs are significantly less, and if you can demonstrate the value earned after participating in a virtual conference, you may be able to convince your boss to invest in one with travel expenses.
Less Time Away From Work
Less time away from work is certainly an advantage when trying to convince your boss of a conference you want to attend. A virtual conference won’t take you out of the office for a prolonged length of time, giving you more flexibility to complete your regular work tasks.
Virtual conferences are popping up more and more so that large events can coexist with social distancing guidelines. As large gatherings are restricted, cut back, and canceled, online conferences provide an alternative to large-scale gatherings.
Easier to Convince Your Boss
For all of the reasons above, it may be easier to convince your boss to allow you to attend an online conference rather than one on the other side of the country. Think of an online conference as an agreeable alternative or as a stepping stone on the path to proving the value of investing in conferences.
How To Ask For Approval From Your Boss
To get yourself to a conference, you need to get approval from your company in some form or another. Whether you’re requesting time off work or asking for financial support to pay for the conference, you’ll need to approach your boss with a thoughtful, researched-backed proposal. Follow our tips below to create a conference proposal no boss can say no to.
Keep it Clear and Concise
The person in charge is busy. Your conference proposal should be kept clear and concise so that you don’t use up too much of their precious time. Provide them with the details they need to understand your ask, but don’t overdo it.
Provide specific details on the conference—where it is, what you’re asking for, and clearly explain the benefits for both yourself and the company. If you are submitting your proposal via email, provide conference pages and other associated links.
What’s the most important message you want them to take away? If they only read part of your proposal, what do you want them to come away with? Whatever it is, make sure that message is clear and located at the beginning of your proposal.
Explain the Benefits Of Attending A Work Conference (For You and Your Company)
Outlining the benefits of the conference is the most critical aspect of your proposal. Go beyond surface level reasons to explain why the conference will benefit both yourself and the company you work for. If you will acquire new knowledge or skills, explain how they will help your company and how you can share what you’ve learned with the rest of your team. You need to illustrate the value of the conference and the return on investment for attending.
- What knowledge will you bring back to your company, and how will you share it with your team?
- What new skills will you acquire, and how will these skills help your company?
- What networking opportunities are available, and how will you use the conference to bring in valuable customers or community connections?
- How will your presence at the conference increase company exposure, either on social media or within your industry community?
- Are there opportunities to learn about industry trends that will help your business stay up to date?
Outline Dates and Absences
Include the dates of the conference and outline the time off you will need in order to attend the conference. Don’t forget to account for travel days and any conference preparations you will need to make before or after.
What will happen in your absence? Will anyone need to cover your position while you are away? Can you manage your current workload while taking time off for the conference?
Discuss the Financials and the Conference ROI
Here’s the big one: how much is the conference going to cost? In order to prove a return on investment, your boss needs to know what the investment will be.
Identify the full cost of the conference, which includes conference fees and all travel expenses. How much will the conference cost when you add in transportation, accommodation, and meals?
Download our Work Trip Packing List for your next conference.
Our short-trip packing list will help you pack for your next out of town conference. The packing list outlines everything you’ll need to pack for a 3-day business trip, including extra spaces to make it your own.
Proposal To Attend A Conference
You’ll need to do a lot of your own research in order to create a stellar conference proposal that will convince your boss you should attend a conference. Every proposal will be different depending on the conference, the costs, and the benefits you’ll outline for your boss. Below we’ve listed all of the elements you should include in your conference proposal.
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