For the next couple days, I am at the ACPA conference in Louisville, KY. ACPA is an amazing organization that supports the work of thousands of higher education student affairs experts and professionals.
One of the benefits of many jobs is attending professional conferences and workshops. These are terrific opportunities to not only expand your knowledge of a particular field, but they also are a great opportunity to show the rest of the community your expertise and to network.
But how do you convince your managers that they should pay for these opportunities for your professional development?
Here are five strategies I suggest:
- Exposure for Your Office: As the saying goes, any publicity is good publicity. Of course, most organizations prefer positive exposure, and when they can boast about how many experts they have, all the better. Professional conferences offer the chance for you to present your accomplishments to a group of like-minded professionals and show the world how great your office is. These presentations often don’t take a lot of time and effort to prepare, but they go along way to creating very positive publicity for your office, and your boss!
- Learning Best Practices: Learning new and effective processes or strategies helps both your office and your professional development. Conferences are a great way to not only learn about best practices in your field, but to interact directly with those who are the experts. And when you meet these people you can …
- Build Capacity Through Collaboration: Conferences are probably the best possible place to build partnerships and to collaborate with other experts in your profession.
- Re-energize: Good conferences are physically exhausting. But I find that I have more energy to do great things at work when I return. When you are energized about the great new ideas you have from the conferences, your office benefits.
- Making Your Boss Look Good: When you feel energized and more educated about the field that interests you the most, you will work more efficiently and effectively. When that happens, your boss looks good to their bosses. The first four points above will go a long way to making your boss look good, not only from the positive publicity, but because you now feel energized and you have more knowledge about the field.
What are some of your strategies for attending professional conferences?