Hey boss, how about sending me to PNSQC this year? It’s really great!
Three Steps … How To Attend the PNSQC Conference
You’ve heard the buzz about PNSQC 2018: Top-flight speakers, powerful technical program, and three days (Oct. 8-10) in iconic Portland, Oregon. Of course, you want to go! But will your boss give you the green light to attend? More importantly, will the boss let you put the bill on the company tab?
We are here to help you get to Yes! Following are tried and true steps for convincing your boss to cover your attendance.
Do the Three-Step
First, you want to convince your boss the program is first rate, designed to enhance your professional status. Second, you want to be clear about the cost of attending. And finally, you’ll want to be sure your boss knows that you will provide value to the company and others after the conference is over.
Step One – Promoting the program
Access the conference agenda and outline the sessions you plan to attend and how they will benefit from your work. Then, identify how these workshops and invited speakers will help you with a current or future project. Be specific. The complete technical track information is available online now to help you build your case.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you make the list of program highlights
- Look for sessions that help you solve a specific pain point within your team or organization.
- Identify presenters who promise to add to your skill set.
- Seek opportunities for exposure to new tools, technologies and/or processes that will benefit your company. Call out specific tools that your company currently uses or plans to use that are covered in one of the many sessions at the PNSQC conference.
Networking, Networking, and More Networking
While making this list, don’t forget that the PNSQC offers many networking opportunities. Be sure to let your boss know that you’ll be able to network on various fronts. Our networking sessions let you in on what other companies are doing to solve problems that you and your teammates may be experiencing at your company. They’ll offer insight into what the competition is doing. You’ll meet, in informal settings, peers who may be the perfect candidates your company is looking for.
Helpful hint: Give your boss a copy of the conference agenda and ask her/him if there is anything specific that s/he would like you to gather information about and report on to her/him.
Step Two – The Expense is an Investment for the Company
Justify the cost of the conference by comparing it to other educational courses and offerings. Almost any alternative will have you out of the office longer while costing the company more.
If you’re from out of town, offer to share a room to reduce hotel expenses. Or consider using space sharing options (Airbnb, VRBO) to keep lodging costs to a minimum. Portland has lots to offer for lodging at all price levels in addition to great public transportation right from the airport.
If you get any pushback on cost and you REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want to go, consider offering to use some of your PTO so the company will only be covering the conference-related fees.
Helpful hint: Have a plan for who will cover for you at work while you are at the conference.
Step Three – After the Event
Let the boss know that you have specific follow-up objectives and strategies to share what you have learned at the conference with others at your company. Make sure he or she knows exactly how you’ll communicate this information to others. Here are some ideas:
- Consider using a staff meeting to share new industry trends presented at the conference, or write an article for your newsletter
- Write a blog post or two about something you learned.
- Prepare a presentation on the major takeaways that you can share with your teammates.
Helpful hint: When reviewing your experience with your boss, focus on the benefits you derived from the conference. Save the Portland tourist activities (which are always memorable) for your workplace peers to make them jealous.
Be sure to pick the right time to approach your boss about attending the conference. Make a plan to speak during a time of day that is least stressful for both of you. Avoid doing so when the boss may be hungry or at the end of a day filled with back-to-back meetings. The best arguments can fail miserably when up against low blood sugar.