Phoenix Design Week has been a fantastic investment for many design careers. Here’s how to win your boss’ stamp of approval.
The Method + Madness Conference—and Phoenix Design Week as a whole—is full of hands-on workshops and actionable insights, making it a worthy investment for designers and other creative professionals. Hoping your company will help you attend? Here’s what to focus on as you make your case.
Get down to the details
When writing to or talking with your boss about attending any conference, your goal is to convince him or her of two things. First, you want to show that the conference itself is worth going to. And then, you must show that you’re the right person to go.
To do this, get specific. Take a look at the speakers who will be presenting, as well as the other events that will be going on throughout the week. Are there any talks or workshops that closely relate to your work? Bonus points if you can match a conference event with a specific project you’re working on.
Next, research the attendees. Are there any competitors or target customers you could network with? Phoenix Design Week has a host of social activities, beginning with the PHXDW 2016 Kickoff Party on Friday night. You’ll encounter professionals from creative industries around Arizona, making it a prime spot for making those important connections.
Speaking of the schedule, the Method + Madness conference primarily takes place on Saturday and Sunday, with many of the supplemental events on weeknights—which means no lost company time out of your regular work week.
Taking the initiative to ask about Phoenix Design Week will demonstrate that you’re plugged into the design industry and you want to participate. Your boss will appreciate that you’re looking for opportunities to improve your skills. And, it can also be a feather in a company’s cap to be seen as a local design leader by having a presence at this conference.
Focus on the ROI
Show your boss how the conference will give a strong return on investment. Start by calculating what that investment will actually be. If you’re not located in Phoenix, get some quotes from local hotels. Can you get a deal? You may want to offer to share a room with another employee if you know any coworkers who are interested in attending.
Once you have some solid numbers, you can compare the cost of the conference to other educational programs, such as training courses and books. Luckily, you may find that many of these will be more expensive, time consuming, and sometimes even outdated.
The Method + Madness Conference offers the chance to network with industry leaders, learn from local professionals, and see firsthand what’s coming next in the industry. It’ll also leave you with a heavy dose of inspiration to re energize your work. You simply can’t get all of that from a few training videos.
Explain how you’ll share what you’ve learned
One of the ways to instantly multiply the value gained from a conference is to share it with the rest of the company afterward. How can you make what you learned accessible to your coworkers when you get back?
Here are a few ideas you can suggest:
- Giving a “lunch and learn” presentation based on one of the sessions you attended
- Giving a short talk on key industry trends during a morning meeting
- Writing a blog article for the company website
Planning how you’ll share your experience shows your boss that you are committed to getting the most mileage out of this event as possible. And acting on those plans puts you in a great position to get support again next year.
Use this sample letter
Some companies require training requests in letter or email form. Feel free to use and modify this letter however you see fit. Just don’t forget to switch out the [brackets] with your own details!
I’d like to attend Phoenix Design Week’s Method + Madness Conference this October. It’s the largest design conference in Arizona, built for creative professionals and hosted by the nonprofit organization AIGA Arizona. Each year, hundreds of designers, writers, and other marketing professionals gather to share their skills and attend workshops with leaders in the industry.
I recognize that any learning experience needs to be worth the investment. To make sure my attendance is as useful to [your company/our department] as possible, I’d like to first research the sessions that will be valuable to our current projects. There will be a lot to choose from, so this shouldn’t be difficult. Afterward, I’d love to give a lunch and learn presentation to share what I’ve learned with the rest of the team.
The conference takes place over the weekend of October 22nd and 23rd, and they have an Advance Ticket discount that’s running until September 1st. The ticket would cost [x], and because I’m a member of AIGA, the ticket would be reduced again to [X]. Most conferences of this caliber would charge 4–10 times that amount. Here’s a full breakdown of estimated costs:
- Registration fee: [enter dollar amount]
- Airfare: [enter dollar amount]
- Hotel: [enter dollar amount]
- Transportation: [enter dollar amount]
- Meals: [enter dollar amount]
I realize this is a significant funding request, and I appreciate your consideration.You can learn more about the event at www.phxdw.com. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.