Anyone who's been to an AICPA conference will tell you it's an incredible learning experience. But if you're going to ask your employer to pick up the tab, you have to make a bold case for attending.
Here's a bit of tactical advice on getting your manager to send you to the AICPA Employee Benefit Plans Conference May 15-17, 2017: It's not about you. It's about how your entire team - in fact, your company - will benefit from the information and insights you'll gain.
Step 1 - Ready: Prepare in Advance
- Review the full program and map out your customized conference agenda. Choose a mix of sessions that benefit you personally and that can expand your whole team's outlook.
- Download this persuasive letter for your boss. · Download this persuasive letter for your boss. Include the sessions you'd like to attend, and name-drop some big-time speakers like Founder of Day One Leadership Drew Dudley, PMP.
- Ready your argument that attending the EBP Conference will make you a bigger asset to your company and your plan to bring back information to your team.
Step 2 - Set: Pick the Right Time to Talk About It
- Lay the groundwork with the letter, then schedule a brief meeting to state your case in person.
- Explain the ROI on sending you to the event:
- Tell your boss you'll bring back best practices from AICPA leaders including the 5 past chairmen of the AICPA.
- Tell your boss about the sessions focused on diversity and inclusion, leadership and communication — skills that will complement your career path.
- Tell your boss that this conference will allow you to earn up to 24 CPE credits and learn topics that may not be available with your in-house or in-state training capabilities.
- Walk through the conference website together to review the program and speaker lineup.
Step 3 - Go: Leverage Your Communication Skills
Impress your boss with your communication skills by crafting a powerful campaign to win their approval.
Objection: "It's too expensive."
Your response: "This isn't just a two-day event; its benefits will carry over through the rest of the year, so it's a great value. I'll capture detailed notes from every session, so our whole team can learn along with me."
Objection: "We can't afford to have you out of the office."
Your response: "I won't be totally away from the office; with free Wi-Fi during the event, I'll be able to stay connected at the same time I'm gathering information and best practices that will take our team's work to the next level."
Your closing argument: "When I get back from the conference, I'll schedule a download session with you and the team. I'll present my notes and speaker handouts from all the sessions I attended. I'll show you all the great resource material I picked up in the Exhibit Hall from vendors who can save us money. Sending me to the conference means elevating our whole team."