You know you need to attend a conference - but can you find the words to explain why to your organisation's budget-holders? Attending the right conference (ours!) is a boon for both employer and employee - and for those who will benefit from your new knowledge.
You are an asset to your company. If instead of being a person, you were a piece of machinery, part of the company budget would go towards maintaining and upgrading you. They should be investing the same percentage of budget towards maintaining and upgrading your skills - and such recognition will increase your motivation and loyalty.
Offer to train others in what you learned when you return. You can bring back skills and knowledge to the rest of the organisation. If you have any experience in training or teaching, you can use that as your justification to attend instead of other co-workers. And you will be able to access all tuturial notes/handouts from other sessions online in the delegate section of www.recoveryplusdb.com
Trip report. Arguably one form of teaching others, the trip report is a write up of the sessions you attended, written for other folks in your group. The best trip reports make it easy for folks to dig up the right reference, or trigger people to come ask you questions. A 2-3 page summary, with URLs and pointers to stuff for specific questions gets much most mileage.
Connect the value of the conference to business goals. If accessability or client satisfaction are company goals, you can claim that sending you to a conference such as ours on those subjects will help pull in more expertise and knowledge towards helping the business. This argument puts less of the focus on your professional goals, and more on the company.
Recruiting. One of the reasons to send people to conferences is to recruit for open positions. If your team has had trouble filling certain jobs, or know that new openings are coming, you can offer to do recruiting work while you’re there.
Professional development. If you have career discussions with you manager, tie your career goals and future development to specific kinds of training or growth opportunities that you need.
Split the costs. If you believe the conference is needed for your professional development, then you should want to attend regardless of who pays. Offer to split the costs. Or ask just for the time off without having to use up vacation time, and you pay your own way. This can be a way to prove the value of the conference, if you return with great stuff and teach others on your team. You might position it as a trial: if you can show that it’s valuable, your manager will pay next time.
Tips from Cheryl Watson's Tuning Letter...
• Connect your attendance to your organization’s strategic plan. Articulate how you will be able to better support your organization’s priorities by enhancing your learning and networks.
• Create action reports following the conference and share with your internal colleagues. Include new tools and techniques, programme ideas, best practices and outcomes reporting methods.
• Form a team, distribute the information, act on it and follow up. If more than one person from your organisation can attend the meeting, assign specific educational sessions, networking events, vendors, etc. to different people, then meet back the following week to see which items have been, or should be, acted upon. Follow-up with a note to management to describe what actions you've taken and what improvements you've made.
• Train others. After the meeting, give a presentation to your co-workers on what you have learned.
• Implement at least one performance change you've learned. Be sure to document it, and emphasise that this would not have been realised if you had not attended the conference. You could justify five years of a conference!
• Compute the cost of a consultant and calculate for your management how much free advice you received during the meeting.
• Compare it to almost any education course. The DB Recovery+ conferences are often the best. The material comes from terrific sources: well-known and respected researchers and practitioners in how to recover from addiction using evidence-based best practices.
• When you are in a meeting or having an informal discussion, if you have an idea or a point to make, preface it with "One of the speakers at the DB Recovery+ conference said... " Giving credit will continue to reinforce the idea to management that such training continues to benefit your organisation months afterward.
"The real value in attending the right conferences comes down to these key benefits: networking, education, competition, training, vendor interaction, socialising / collaborative insight, continuing professional education and professional recognition (speaking)."
Hints and tips to get the most out of a conference +
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