Any respiratory therapist who’s been to an AARC Congress will tell you it’s an incredible, inspiring experience. But if you’re going to ask your employer to pick up the tab, you have to make a bold case for attending.
So here’s a bit of advice on getting your manager to send you to AARC Congress in 2019: It’s not about you. It’s about how your entire team, facility, and patients will benefit from the information and insight you’ll gain. So take the time to plan ahead, create your story and leverage your case on why AARC Congress is the most important annual event for you to attend.
STEP 1 — Be Prepared with a Letter and an Agenda
- Review the full AARC Congress program with more than 200 sessions and map out your customized conference agenda. Choose a mix of sessions that you think will benefit you personally and that can improve you and your team’s ability to provide better, safer and more affordable care for patients.
- Download this persuasive letter to give to your boss (.DOCX, .PDF). Include the sessions you’d like to attend, drop some names of notable speakers, and mention some equipment or technology that you’d like to learn more about.
- Ready your argument that attending AARC Congress will make you a more valuable employee at your facility.
STEP 2 — Arrange a Meeting to Discuss Your Request
- Lay the groundwork with the letter, then schedule a brief meeting to state your case in person.
- Explain the benefits of sending you to the event.
- Tell your boss you’ll share the best-practices you’ve learned from the sessions, exhibit hall or research presentations at OPEN FORUM.
- Tell your boss that you are happy to deliver a department in-service on select topics for sessions attended.
- Tell your boss that you’re happy to pre-schedule time off or take vacation time if required.
- Browse through the conference website together to review the program and speaker lineup.
- Go over your proposed agenda with your boss. Ask them to select or further advise on sessions they believe would provide the greatest benefit for the department.
- Tell your boss you’ll earn a full year’s worth of value in just 4-5 days, allowing you to earn up to 20+ contact hours CRCE.
STEP 3 — Leverage Your Communication Skills
Top off your sales-pitch by crafting your responses in advance to win final approval from your manager.
Objection: “It’s too expensive.”
Your response: “If you think of it in regards to the benefits it not only provides to me but the entire department AND our patients, it’s actually a fairly inexpensive investment.”
Objection: “You can’t be away from work for four days.”
Your response: “Because this is such a valuable event for myself, our team and patients, I’m happy to pre-schedule time off or use my vacation time.”
Your closing argument: “When I get back from the conference, I’ll schedule a department in-service for sessions attended, and share my notes and speaker handouts. I’ll provide an overview of the best practices, technology and information I learned from the exhibit hall and research presentations. I can also share resources from the Exhibit Hall vendors who might be able to save us money or help us to provide better patient care. Sending me to the conference means that I’ll be better equipped to serve our patients and help our department learn about the latest in evidence-based care.”
Won Your Boss’s Approval? Make Sure You Follow Up!
If your tactics succeed and your boss approves, congratulations! Your next step should be to make a list of how you’ll deliver on your promises when you return from Congress. When you’re there, be diligent in collecting handouts from sessions and vendors so that you’re prepared to demonstrate your acquired knowledge with the team and manager.
Just think – by demonstrating key things you’ve learned, you’ll refresh it in your own mind to better deliver on the job, and be well on your way to getting approval for attending next year!