Okay, so you’ve set your eyes on a sweet event that’s kindarelated to your work (*ahem* the upcoming Girlboss Rally) and professional development and now you’re itching to attend and wondering if your boss is game to have you go on the company’s dime.
You think: There will be speakers! There will be other (hopefully) cool people! It looks like so much fun!
Here’s the thing, though: None of the above are reasons enough to get your boss to give the OK on you taking time off work to attend some conference, much less on the company’s cash.
Here’s another yet another thing, though: You have options. Company leaders understand that ongoing professional development and training is important for employees to develop successful careers.
It’s just up to you to remind them of that little fact. Here’s how.
Start with some questions
First of all, ask yourself why you want to attend a particular event. Maybe you’ve simply wanted to always check out one of the TED conferences or you’re looking to connect with some impressive women at the Girlboss Rally (for example). Whatever it is, figure out what exactly is offered and what appeals to you. The same concept applies if you’re considering enrolling in a skills course, whether at a local college or via an online webinar like those offered by General Assembly.
Once you have a better understanding of what exactly is so appealing to you, you’ll be better able to craft your argument for why your boss should buy in.
Figure out the nitty gritty and make the calendar work for you
Remember that you taking time off work is a potential drag on your coworkers. This is the case even if you’re doing something that will ultimately benefit the company, like taking extra classes or attending a professional conference. Make sure to figure out all the details for how you could attend and event or enroll in a course. What dates will you need to be away? How much will it cost? What about travel and hotel fees? Above all, make sure it’s notoccurring when the company is expecting you to be around for a big project.
Focus on the value this will bring to the company
Once you’re certain that you can do this during an off-peak time at work the next step is pitching your boss on your idea. The key to doing this is framing everything in terms of how this will benefit the company as a whole. Essentially, you manager wants to know: What will be the ROI?
“What will be the ROI?”
Will you attending a convention of other professionals in the industry maybe help you land new clients? Will you be promoting the company and brand there? Is there perhaps a presentation or workshop you can hold once you’re back? Will a skills course help you develop new management practices? Whatever it is, be ready to explain it succinctly and confidently.
Not all companies are able to send you to something that’s not local. Be sure to work through some options for your supervisor so that when you make your pitch, you’re giving them some wiggle room. Consider a three-tiered cost breakdown, with a low, middle and high-priced option. For instance, perhaps one option includes enrolling in an online webinar while another covers the cost for a single day at a conference.
Be ready for a possible, no, and work with a maybe
If you pique your boss’ interest but they seem hesitant, offer to follow up with more details via email. Doing so allows you to better outline your proposal in a clean and easy-to-read manner and you up the chances that your supervisor can think on it when they’re not busy.
As always, though, you know how to read your manager best. If your manager doesn’t seem interested because they’re penny-pinching, then it’s best to take a step back. Re-evaluate your approach and consider other ways that perhaps won’t cost the company money, like having you front the costs but not having it cut into your vacation time.
Just go for it
Just like other educational conferences, the Girlboss Rally is all about your professional development—which, yes, is something your employer should be down to pay for. Whether you’ve already been given a budget for continued training or are looking to set a new precedent for your team, you’ll need to make the case that, ahem, despite all the fun you’ll have, the Girlboss Rally will truly provide you with insightful workshops and learnings you can bring back to your team as a contributor and a leader. One thing’s for sure: It doesn’t hurt to ask. Here’s , with an example of an email you can even copy and paste into your boss’s inbox.
Subject Line: Professional development?
Hi [Insert supervisor’s name],
Registration is open for the 2020 Girlboss Rally, and I’d like to attend on behalf of . It’s a conference for ambitious women who want to level up in their careers, and it’s happening Saturday, April 25, in Los Angeles.
It’ll be an amazing opportunity for me to not only represent our brand among 1,000 other attendees and influential speakers, but I’ll also be able to bring back new skill sets and learnings from the workshop programming that spans topics like leadership and management, productivity, communication at work, and more.
Please take a look at the costs to attend and let me know if I have your approval to expense the below items:
To ensure this benefits the larger team, I’d love to share what I learned by giving a brief presentation to our team after attending.
Looking forward to discussing this further! Thank you for your consideration.
Finally, when your boss says, “yes” be sure to make a toast to yourself—you did it, you unstoppable genius.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published on Aug. 20, 2018. It has been updated (and will continue to be updated) to include new tips, advice, and guidance, to ensure we are always giving you the best, most valuable resources.