Attending conferences and workshops is an important part of keeping in touch with other people in your field, learning new tips and tricks, recharging your creative batteries and keeping yourself current with advances in technology. If you don’t attend conferences regularly, you can get “stale”, like day-old bread. However, it’s not always easy to get the funding support you need to attend conferences – after all, most of us live on a very tight budget!
So, if you’ve got challenges when it comes to budget, how do you convince your boss that you need to attend eACH this year? Most blogs and posts on this subject agree that you need to market yourself. That means being direct with your boss about why you should go, outlining benefits for your organization. It’s best to prepare your argument before even approaching your boss for his/her support. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you prepare for that conversation.
- When approaching your boss, be direct. Don’t ask “What if I attended the eACH conference?”. Ask “I’d like to attend the eACH conference in June. Will you approve me to attend on company time and will the organization pay for it?”
- Prepare a list of benefits for your organization if you attend the conference. See below for some ideas about why you should attend eACH 2017.
- Know how much you’re asking for. Calculate how much it will cost to send you to the conference and have this information ready to share during your discussion. Include the conference cost, transportation, accommodation and any other incidentals. Also think about how you can decrease these costs – can you stay with a friend in the city? Take the train in each day as opposed to staying in a hotel? Would you be willing to split the cost with your employer?
- Have a contingency plan if your boss says no. If he/she is worried about you missing key meetings or deadlines, have a work plan prepared that will help you meet deadlines and contribute to meetings in advance of attending the conference. Can you attend the meeting using Skype? Could you prepare a briefing paper in advance?
- Outline how you will share the information you’ve learned with your team members and co-workers. Show your boss that attending the conference can be a learning opportunity for your colleagues as well.
- Be strategic. Relate how attending the conference will help you respond to and deal with specific issues in your organization. You’ll be able to connect with other people in similar organizations who have similar challenges.
- Be enthusiastic!
Do a Google search if you’re having trouble coming up with ideas. You are not the first person who had to approach their boss for support for attending a conference and you definitely won’t be the last. Check out posts like Feeding Your Inner Geek – Top Tips for Getting to Conferences for some ideas about how to get there and what to do once you’ve returned from the conference.
Once you’ve done all your homework take some time to review the eACH website. Check out our concurrent sessions, our keynote speakers, our Show and Share past winners and our pre-conference sessions. There will be some serious learning going on at eACH!
What exactly are the benefits of attending eACH?
- It’s a great conference, not so big that you can get lost among the delegates, but big enough to attract people from across North America. This means that you’ll get a chance to meet a lot of people, some of whom you may know from blogs, learning communities and social media.
- You’ll make lots of connections with people who are experienced in their field. This will help you in your role as an e-learning developer and improve your ability to create better eLearning.
- You’ll participate in workshops, discussions and the “show and share” portions of the conference and come away with some great ideas for your own work.
- You can focus on topics that will benefit you at work, whether it’s incorporating more video in your eLearning to learning a new piece of software.
- It’s in Toronto – easily accessible by train, plane and even public transit, which makes it a very reasonably priced destination.
- It’s a deal, especially if you book as an earlybird attendee.
- It will give you an opportunity to potentially showcase your own work if you participate in our Show and Share session. You can get feedback on what you’ve worked on!
- A short work trip away from the office will re-energize you and give you the tools to work better and smarter when you return to work.
- You can share what you’ve learned with others in your organization and can outline to your boss just how you can make that happen.
Approaching your organization for support to attend eACH is about marketing yourself and being prepared. You will come away with a wealth of new ideas, new contacts and new skills. What are you waiting for?