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How to Ask My Boss to Go to a Conference

by Stan Mack, studioD

Asking your boss for permission to attend a conference can be awkward, especially if you want your company to fund the trip. Your best chance of success depends on convincing your boss that funding your trip is a wise investment. For example, if attending the conference increases your skill set, you will become a more valuable worker.

List the Benefits

The first step is to make a list of all the benefits of going to the conference. For example, if a new technology is gaining traction in your industry, learning about it might help you do your job better and improve how your company functions. Other reasons for attending a conference might include networking with potential clients, recruiting new talent for the company, meeting with suppliers to lower costs, or learning about your industry's best practices. The more reasons you can offer your boss, the more likely she is to approve your trip.

Lower the Costs

Going to a conference can be expensive. Attendance fees and transportation and hotel costs add up quickly. Before approaching your boss, identify some ways to minimize the expense of your trip. For example, find the cheapest flights and hotel room possible, and keep your stay short. If going to the conference is very important to you, you might even offer to use your vacation time or pay some of the costs yourself.

Dealing with Your Absence

Another obstacle to overcome is the negative effect your absence would have on the business. Working overtime to complete your work ahead of your trip could minimize any negative impact. Or, perhaps some of your coworkers can pick up the slack while you're gone. The key is to prepare an effective plan before you speak with your boss.

Meeting with Your Boss

Wait for the right moment to ask your boss for permission to go to the conference. For example, don't ask when your boss is stressed or out of sorts. When the time is right, ask for a private meeting. Make your request politely and then objectively explain the benefits of attending the conference. If your boss refuses your request, note her specific reasons. The next time you want to go to a conference, make sure you’re ready to address those concerns.

About the Author

Stan Mack is a business writer specializing in finance, business ethics and human resources. His work has appeared in the online editions of the "Houston Chronicle" and "USA Today," among other outlets. Mack studied philosophy and economics at the University of Memphis.

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