HOW Design Live Chicago June 22-27

Convince Your Boss

HOW Design Live: ROI

Anyone who’s attended a HOW Design Conference will tell you it’s one of the most inspiring, rejuvenating and creativity-boosting experiences in graphic design. Many have called it life changing.

But chances are, your boss isn’t looking to spend a couple thousand dollars of your company’s travel budget to “change your life.” She’s more interested in changing the bottom line, so that’s how you have to frame your discussion—the tangible benefits that will make you more productive, more efficient, more effective as a designer.

In other words, ROI.

Tell her what she’ll get in return for that investment—think saving or making money—and you’re more likely to get it approved.

The following points can help you build your case, either in a written request or face-to-face dialogue. Below that you’ll find email text you can copy, tweak as needed, and send directly to your boss to get the conversation started.

Ready to build your case? Here we go.

I’ll strengthen (and broaden) my skill set. The HOW Design Conference is widely recognized as the most comprehensive educational event in the industry, covering Business, Creativity, Design Disciplines, In-House Issues, Software and Web/Interactive Design. I can choose from 47 sessions and workshops to better my current skills and learn new ones.

I’ll be more proficient in design software. The software gurus at HOW teach valuable tricks and techniques for working in Illustrator, InDesign and more—shortcuts that can save me time, and the company money. 

I’ll learn how to be more creative, consistently. More than half of this year’s sessions and workshops are on creativity—from brainstorming techniques to unusual brochure folds to building designs around typography.

I’ll pick up ideas we can apply to our own business. The presenters at HOW share real-world case studies from a broad spectrum of companies who’ve proven that good design = good business.

I’ll make valuable connections. From networking events like Lunch with a Speaker to receptions inside the Resource Center, I’ll meet accomplished designers with unique skills and experiences to share—a collaborative network I can tap long after the conference. I can even look for potential hires in the Portfolio Review.

I’ll find new vendors and resources. The HOW Resource Center is packed with innovative suppliers of printing, paper, stock imagery, software and other tools of the design trade—all with the potential for better pricing, better results or both!

I’ll help our company stay current. With sessions on app design, new type technologies for the web and making your way in a digital world, HOW is the place to explore trends and learn new skills—from the smartest and most creative minds in the industry.

I can share what I learn with officemates after the Conference. Combining my own notes and ideas with the session handouts provided by HOW, I’ll have plenty of inspiration and information to share when I return. And for an additional $99 total fee, we can order audio MP3s of most sessions (available 30 days post-Conference).

My Conference costs may be tax deductible. Since HOW Design Conference is a continuing education expense taken to maintain and improve my professional skills, registration fees, travel, meals and lodging may be tax deductible. But we should check with the company CPA just to be certain.

If you’re not sure how to ask for approval to attend the HOW Design Conference, here’s a good way to get the ball rolling. Copy and paste the text below into an email and send it to your boss. You may still have to state your case in person, but at least you’ve begun the conversation with a compelling email!

tip: Make it easy for her to see just what you’re getting for your money by highlighting your chosen sessions in the Conference brochure, or copying session descriptions from the website into your own agenda-at-a-glance—and mention that you’re attaching it to your email.

Dear [fill in your boss’ name],
I would like to attend the 2011 HOW Design Conference in Chicago, Illinois, June 24 – 27. The Conference, presented by HOW magazine, provides four days of creativity, business and technology information specifically for designers like me.

(And since it spans a weekend, I’d only be away from the office for two days.)
Not only will I return to the office creatively recharged and refreshed, I’ll learn skills and techniques that will positively affect our bottom line. Here’s a sampling of what I’ll get at HOW:

• expert tips and advice for working more efficiently and effectively, and using our resources to their full extent

• new “power user” skills in Adobe Illustrator™ and InDesign™ software … techniques for developing apps for interactive tablets … an overview of the latest web type technologies and more

• new processes for on-the-spot idea generation—I'll learn to brainstorm more productively and collaborate with other creatives (and clients) to develop ideal solutions
If I bring back just one big idea, one new skill I can share with the group, one new resource that saves us time and money, the HOW Conference will more than pay for itself.

You’ll find all the details here:

Let’s talk about this soon!

[your name]