Selling UI17 to the Boss – The Benefits of Attending

Lauren Cramer

August 3rd, 2012

Convincing your boss to spend $1,500-$3,000 to send you to the User Interface 17 Conference is no easy task. Your boss wants to see the total costs and how this conference will benefit the organization.

In part 2 of of our 2 part series, you’ll learn how to explain the benefits of attending UI17 to your boss. Part one outlined the expenses associated with sending you to the conference.

Understand what your boss wants

Before you present anything, find out what information your boss needs to approve you attending. Often at the top of the list is cost and benefits to the company. Dive deeper – ask what they mean by benefiting the company. Is your boss asking to see:

1. How you’ll solve a specific pain point within your organization?
2. How the material you learn about will help finish up a current project?
3. How this new information is shared with the rest of the team?
4. How your new-found UX knowledge saves the company from hiring someone to do a specific task or skill?
5. Will you bring in a new skill set that the company is lacking?
6. How are you adding to the basic UX knowledge of the team?

Addressing Your Design Needs

Only you know which workshops will address your most pressing design needs. The UI17 workshop descriptions lay out what you’ll learn during the day, the practical take-aways you’ll get, and how to implement the new processes and techniques you’ll learn.

Explore the workshops that fit your training and design needs. Find 3-5 points within the workshop description that addresses the 6 questions above.

For example, after attending Kevin Hoffman’s workshop on leading productive meetings you’ll:

1. Get a better grip of defining what design problem you’re solving and communicating that problem.
2. Integrate all members of the meeting to contribute perspectives and ideas.
3. Ensure everyone at the meeting is on the same page and level of understanding. Clearly understand next steps to take.

Training others

One of the best methods to reinforce a new skill is to train someone else. We call it the “watch one, do one, show one method.”

In the daylong workshops, you’ll learn by “watching” and “doing.” Then, once you’re back in the office, you’ll “show one” by teaching the rest of the team the fabulous material from the workshops.

To help with the sharing/showing, you’ll receive audio and video recordings of the short talks plus all the materials from every workshop and talk. These items are included as part of your registration.

Increasing your value to the organization

Most organizations care about, and invest in, their employees, wanting them to have the skills and tools necessary to succeed. Amping up your UX knowledge makes you a better designer and a more valuable and productive employee.

Conferences are an opportunity for you to glean best practices and network with others facing the same challenges. You’ll gain more than you can get from simply reading articles or books.

In Summary, Provide a Benefits Worksheet

It’s difficult to put an exact figure on the ROI for attending UI17. Your boss will want something that quickly quantifies benefits and shows what the costs are. Here’s an example.

Conference Expenses
Conference fee $1,349
Hotel costs $855
Flight $275
Transportation to and from airport $50
Food $80
Total $2,609
Organization’s Benefits Specific need, and how the conference addresses that need
Get the latest UX techniques Through the two workshops and 4 talks I attend, I’ll hear about the latest trends, research, methods, and techniques in user research, scenarios, mobile design, prototyping, collaborate critique and design
Learn what others are doing in the UX field This conference has several opportunities to network with peers and the speakers. It’s a great environment to find out how others have addressed similar issues we’ve come across. The speakers are approachable and open to discussion.
Improve individual and team design skills I’ll do a lunch and learn on the various workshops and sessions I attend so the team gets the key take-aways I acquired at the conference. Additionally, the conference provides recordings from the short talks and all the materials from every session. These can be used by everyone within the organization.
Solve a current design problem We’ve talked about how to incorporate more UX research into our designs and how to use scenarios to improve our designs. There are 2 workshops that directly cover these areas. With this information we can move forward at a quicker pass to complete the projects.
Eliminate the need to hire outside UX personnel Many of the sessions and workshops address the missing skills needed to solve some of the issues we’re having. By boosting our skill set it may eliminate the need to hire outside to fulfill these needs.

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