Business case for attending

Wondering how to persuade your boss to send you to the #PRSAGameChangers North Pacific District Conference?

Follow these key steps.

A conference can be a pivotal experience in your career. But gaining approval from your boss can hinge on your ability to make a strong case. Preparation will be key to your success.

Step 1: Research the total cost of the conference.

Know the registration fee, hotel expense, travel and food expense. Researching this information allows you to understand the expenses, and how it breaks down. It’s basic information your boss will want, and expect, you to share. It also prepares you and enables you to discuss the various elements, rather than one lump cost.

#ProTip: If you’re a PRSA member, don’t forget to factor in your discounted rates. PRSA’s annual member dues are $255 (before your Chapter and/or Section dues), and your member status entitles you to a $200 discount off the full conference pass. So while you’re getting $200 off to attend the conference, you’ve also just showed the ROI for your annual member dues.

Step 2: Look for the return-on-investment (ROI) for your company.

Viewing the conference through the perspective of your company will help you sell the proposal to your boss and answer the question, ‘What’s the return to the company?’ Understanding current budget realities will help you. If budgets are tight, you may have to make the case for why you should attend this conference rather than other training opportunities or professional development expenses.

#ProTip: If you’re a PRSA member, this is also a great time to reinforce the other benefits your company receives as part of your membership, including discounts with vendors that your colleagues in Finance, HR and Procurement may want to take advantage of. (And you never know when that will help you and your team during budget reviews.)

Step 3: Shape your proposal.

Make a list of the most compelling elements from the perspective of your boss, and draft a proposal on paper.  In the case of the North Pacific District, benefits include:

  • Unique opportunity at a reduced cost. High quality communications conferences often occur in Mid-West or the East Coast states, requiring a full day of travel. The North Pacific District Conference will feature experts and leaders from national companies and organizations available to most west coast states within a two-hour plane flight.
  • Learning emerging trends early and ahead of your competitors. Good leaders try to stay ahead of the curve. The conference will focus on forward-thinking strategies and tactics, as well as tools and skills you will be able to implement immediately upon your return to the office. Consider offering to give a presentation to your team or colleagues about what you heard, which allows others to benefit and increases the ROI. Mention that PowerPoint presentations and materials will be available to bring back to the workplace.
  • Learn where to focus your time and energy for the best results. The North Pacific District Conference will feature leaders who share case studies, best practices and lessons learned, which saves you and your company time and money avoiding failed strategies and mistakes.
  • Relationships that matter. Networking with some of the top experts in your field will help you and your company.  In as little as five minutes you can solve a problem, form a partnership, or identify new business, resources and contacts that will benefit you, and your company, later.

Step 4: Be strategic in your approach.

Now that you’ve identified the most compelling benefits, consider drafting a proposal on paper to provide to your boss or simply having your notes on paper.  Think carefully about the best time to have a conversation with your boss, such as early in the day when they are less tired and stressed, or scheduling a brief meeting.  This shows you take the proposal very seriously and the conversation is important to you.  Finally, be enthusiastic!  Passion is a compelling emotion.