3 Tips to get your boss or HR Manager to sign off on a conference

Maxine Attong
June 5, 2024

You want to attend a conference but your boss / HR is signaling that there is no money in the Budget, worse yet a conference is not part of your Development plan. But you really want to attend.

So here’s some advice on getting your manager/HR to approve your request to attend a Conference Bottom Line – What’s in it for them? Hint: It’s not about you.

The conference will benefit your team, your department and your company, as the new thoughts, skills and insights you will access can be shared to benefit them all.

Use our TTT model to sell the idea. Think, Take time to prepare and Talk.

STEP 1 — Think

  • Review the full Conference Agenda and the related calendar of events.
  • Determine how the Conference will assist you to be a more effective leader.
  • Email the agenda to your boss / HR and request a meeting to discuss same.
  • Name drop past attendees, sponsors and speakers in your email.
  • Think about why attending a Leadership Conference will make you a more effective leader.
  • Use audience testimonials for previous conferences to support your point

STEP 2 — Take time to prepare

  • Schedule a brief face to face meeting to discuss    
  • Explain the ROI (return on investment) on sending you to the event.
  • Indicate that you’ll bring back best leadership practices and put them into practice
  • State that the Leadership conference will keep giving you information as well as networking and other opportunities throughout the year.  

STEP 3 — Talk

Talk to your boss or Human Resources using these tips.

Objection: “It’s too expensive.”

Your response: “This isn’t just a one day one time event. I have access to the sessions on-demand so I can continue learning for months to come. The Conference fee also includes attendance to other networking events that continue the discussion with different speakers. I will make detailed notes from every session and present to the team so everyone can benefit from my experience.”

Objection: “We have a lot going on. We cannot afford for you to be out of office for a whole day.”

Your response: “The conference is hybrid – online and face to face. I can attend the online version which is set up to minimise time away from work. There are sufficient breaks in the program that will allow me to attend meetings or complete work. If I miss any part of the conference I can access the session on-demand”

Your closing argument: “After conference, I will schedule a lunch and learn / meeting with the team, at which I will share my notes and speaker handouts. We will brainstorm what ideas we can try. (Yes, I will have some recommendations)

I will work with HR to upload the articles and handouts on our shared learning platform.  I am also willing to present to the leadership teams about the conference. I promise you that sending me to this conference will provide learning and engagement opportunities for our whole team.“

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Maxine Attong
Maxine Attong

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