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How do you convince your supervisor to send you to a conference?

You may have checked out the Community Media Conference schedule and wanted to attend. There are lots of relevant sessions, interesting speakers and ideas you can apply at your station.

Convincing a decisionmaker to cover your conference trip can be intimidating. How do you do it?

I hear from a lot of community radio producers and staff who express desire to attend a community media conference, but aren’t sure a general manager will sign on.

Approaching your station about sending you requires a few preparatory steps:

  • Come in with something in writing – it’s much easier to digest what you’re asking for when a boss can read it.
  • Write down what your expenses will be and what you’re asking for (i.e. all, half, etc.) – NFCB member stations get a conference discount for registering by May 15.
  • How long you’ll be gone and contingencies where needed – it makes it easier at some stations when a boss knows who’s taking up the slack.

Need more? You want to explain what sessions you think the station can get the most benefit out of, what knowledge you’ll bring back to share with volunteers and staff, and a plan to involve other volunteers and staff to help organize what you’ll go to, so they get back relevant notes and information.

Expense lists can sometimes turn off a supervisor, but it is important that you articulate conferences are an investment, and one that can be far less costly. You may not be able to pay a consultant $4,500, a team of lawyers $3,500 and $2,000 for a pledge drive trainer, but you can ask questions of attorneys in sessions, attend a revenue intensive and get a guidance on improving programming and more.

Presence at conferences also enhances a station and by extension its management. A leader whose staff is present in the system is seen as one who has engaged people. The stations that attract talented people, programmers and interest are, without question, those who make themselves known in community radio. Your station wants to be in that conversation.

Talking with a supervisor about sending you to a conference can be tough, but most everyone can make a persuasive case. Register today to attend NFCB’s annual conference.

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