Attending conferences can be incredibly valuable for professional growth and staying updated with the latest industry trends. However, convincing your boss to invest in your attendance might require some strategic planning and a well-structured proposal. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the steps to successfully convince your boss to let you attend a conference (with examples for SQLBits!).
Do Your Research:
Before approaching your boss, thoroughly research the conference you’re interested in attending. Highlight the key topics, speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities. Identify how these aspects align with your job responsibilities and the company’s objectives. The more informed you are, the stronger your case will be. An example for SQLBits would be: Sharing our agenda and specific sessions relevant to your role, but adding why they can help you and what challenges we can solve for your company. SQLBits also has a why attend page!
Align with Company Goals:
Demonstrate how attending the conference will benefit your team and the company as a whole. Identify specific challenges your team is facing and explain how the insights gained from the conference can help overcome these challenges. Show how the new knowledge and skills you’ll acquire can contribute to achieving company goals. Will you share your knowledge with the team? Training for 5 for the cost of 1 person. Want you your entire team to attend? The more people attending the more diverse and spread out your knowledge is.
Highlight Return on Investment (ROI):
Your boss will likely be concerned about the financial investment required for your attendance. Outline the potential ROI by detailing how the information and connections you gain can lead to improved performance, increased productivity, or even new business opportunities. Estimate the value of the new skills and knowledge you’ll bring back to the team. Plus SQLBits is over 35% cheaper than other data conferences!
Create a Comprehensive Proposal:
Prepare a well-organized proposal that includes:
- Objective: Clearly state the purpose of attending the conference, whether it’s learning about new industry trends, acquiring specific skills, or expanding your professional network.
- Benefits: Outline the benefits not only for you but also for your team and the company. Explain how attending the conference aligns with your career development and how it can positively impact your work.
- Agenda: Provide a rough conference agenda, highlighting sessions, workshops, and speakers that are particularly relevant to your role and company objectives.
- Costs: Break down the costs involved, including registration fees, travel, accommodation, and meals. Be transparent and consider cost-saving measures such as early bird registration or sharing accommodation with colleagues.
- Coverage Plan: Address how your responsibilities will be managed in your absence. Offer suggestions for how your tasks can be delegated or temporarily reassigned.
There is an example proposal for SQLBits at the bottom of this blog!
Emphasise Skill Development:
Explain how the conference will help you acquire new skills or enhance existing ones. Frame your attendance as an investment in your professional growth, which in turn benefits the team and the company. Discuss how these skills can be applied to drive innovation and efficiency within your role.
Highlight the potential for networking with industry professionals, peers, and experts. Networking can lead to valuable connections, partnerships, and insights that might not be accessible through regular work channels. Emphasize the long-term benefits of building relationships with other professionals. SQLBits has extracurricular activities to help you really get stuck in with the community.
Address Concerns Proactively:
Anticipate and address any concerns your boss might have, such as the impact of your absence on ongoing projects. Offer solutions to mitigate these concerns, such as providing a plan for task delegation or identifying colleagues who can step in temporarily.
In conclusion, attending a conference can be a valuable investment in your professional growth and skill development. By doing thorough research, aligning your proposal with company goals, and highlighting the benefits and ROI, you can effectively convince your boss to support your attendance. Remember, a well-structured proposal that demonstrates your dedication to both personal and company growth will significantly increase your chances of gaining approval.
An example proposal for SQLBits…
Objective: Learning new industry trends to keep up with the fast-paced technology sector by expanding my, and my team’s, skillset. All while increasing our network of data professionals who created the products we use every day.
Benefits: Career development in multiple areas as SQLBits covers many tracks of the data industry. Creating friendships that can benefit the business by sharing knowledge and getting real-world examples. SQLBits isn’t run by a corporate team, therefore all knowledge isn’t sponsored or promoted to push certain products, it is all genuine. Previous attendees have stated they learn more in 4 days than in 2 weeks of watching educational videos.
Agenda: I plan to attend for the full 5 days as there are two training days that I could use to expand my knowledge greatly and bring back to the team. The particular sessions are [Insert sessions here!] and you can read all about their specifics here [Add a link to the SQLBits agenda!]. I plan to use my spare time to make a name for myself and give back/get involved with the community.
Costs: SQLBits full conference pass costs £1700, without any early bird or group discounts, which is over 35% cheaper than other conferences and they provide 300 hours of content, accessible on demand after the event – for comparison, a term at university provides 110 hours of content at upwards of £3,500. [Add about travel and accommodation fees!] SQLBits also provide 3 meals a day: breakfast lunch and dinner, so no need to add extra costs for food!
Coverage is dependent on your organisation!