How to convince your boss to buy you a conference ticket
You write CSS all day. You are your team’s frontend expert (or want to become one). You are responsible for maintaining your company’s brand consistency, perfecting the UI of your app. You are an explorer of styles, wrangler of SVG, composer of components. You know you have to attend CSSconf EU 2019, but how to get your boss to agree to buy you that ticket?
Talk business. There’s an ROI in attending a conference.
When you approach your manager to ask for a CSSconf EU ticket, know that you are not the only one who benefits from spending a day watching talks and sipping free coffee. Companies profit in many ways too – after all, their employees grow their knowledge, motivation and network!
Companies are usually aware of this, and you might already have a conference budget in your contract. Maybe your manager actively helps you to grow, and encourages you to attend events. But not all of us get that support handed on a silver platter – so know your arguments, and you can convince even the most skeptical boss.
Explain why you want to attend CSSconf EU, and what you plan to learn there. Mention any specific pain points your team might have: slow processes, knowledge gaps, lack of code quality; and point out how attending CSSconf EU would boost you and your team in tackling these issues.
Offer to give a lunch talk about the conference and your most important take-aways, to share your learnings with the team. At the very minimum, plan to send a quick email to your team with a summary and some links to interesting tools or techniques you learned about.
Volunteer to write a blogpost about your experience on the company blog. This is not only a good way to report back to your team, but it also publicly shows your company’s involvement and participation in community events.
Motivation and Inspiration
CSSconf EU brings together international experts on frontend development, both on stage and within its audience. You get to learn from them not only during talks, but also during breaks and associated events (evening gatherings, decompress events). Connecting, chatting and learning from top-notch talent in the industry can be incredibly inspiring. You’ll find yourself surrounded by a diverse group of people who work on the exact same problems you do and you’ll return motivated and eager to apply your new learnings in your team. What boss wouldn’t love to see some fresh energy?
Networking is your special skill? Offer to recruit at the event. Your company is desperately looking for new talent? Great – there’s no better place to meet skilled designers and frontend developers than CSSconf EU. Offer to actively connect with people and let them know how great working at your company is.
Promote your product
Your company sells a service or a product that is relevant to web developers and designers? Show some presence at CSSconf EU! You can raise awareness for your brand, get direct feedback from your users, gain some new ones, and show that your company cares about its community.
Be prepared for a NO – and don’t give up
You might hear one of the following:
“We have no budget”
Don’t give up, and be prepared with the numbers. Calculate what the ticket would cost, and consider accommodation and travel costs if you need these covered. Keep in mind that your company can deduct tax from everything.
Is this investment in your training worth it or not? Ask your boss why they think that it isn’t.
“We have no time”
Perhaps your management thinks that you can’t miss a day in the office, and that getting stuff done is more important than professional education and improvement.
Be prepared with some hard facts: Remind them how many hours you wasted on solving a problem recently. Is your CSS code base a mess and hardly maintainable? Are your designers complaining about super slow implementation of UI features? What about the animation that would really improve your landing page, but no one knows how to create it?
The work hours you’ll miss by attending CSSconf EU will easily be gained back later! And it’s on a Friday anyway.
But I already went to 10 conferences this year
Great! We hope you got to attend some insightful events. Did you make sure to thank your company for the opportunity, and report back on your learnings? If you did: Good job! You are helping to build a company culture that values their employees’ learning and growth. Why not take it one step further? Look around: Are there people in your team who’d really benefit from attending CSSconf EU? Maybe they are not in a position to ask, or are not experienced in negotiating like you are. Advocate for them! Point out to your boss that your junior designer or frontend trainee could really benefit from the experience, or be a mentor to your coworkers and share some tricks on how to successfully approach your manager about conference tickets.
Did you know: sponsors get tickets too
If your personal conference budget is exhausted, maybe your company has a budget for sponsorships. Did you know all CSSconf EU sponsorships include complimentary tickets to the event? If your direct manager can’t find a budget for your ticket, maybe your marketing department can. Get them in touch with us to talk about sponsoring CSSconf EU.
I’m my own boss
Congratulations, then you only have to convince yourself! For freelancers, all of the above reasons apply, too. We’d even argue that a conference like CSSconf EU is the place to meet and connect with new clients, especially on an international level.
If you are dealing with financial hardships that make a ticket purchase impossible for you, consider applying to our Scholarship program - applications are open and everyone otherwise unable to attend is invited to apply.
We hope those tips are useful and we’re excited to see you at CSSconf EU in May!