So! You’d love to come to HOW Design Live. And we’d love to host you.

There’s just one thing left to do: Convince your boss!

We’ve been there. So here are our best tips for navigating the conversation so you won’t be at your desk groggily puzzling over color palettes—you’ll be at HOW Design Live getting inspired and meeting likeminded people.

STEP 1 — Do Your Homework

Start with the HOW Design Live website and make a list of the sessions and speakers you’d really love to see. Then ask yourself: What can they teach you that you can take back to the office? Consider keynotes, regular sessions, and all ground between. At past HOW Design Live events, you might have been looking forward to Simon Sinek’s keynote because you wanted to learn how to up your leadership game. You might have been excited about Jennifer Aldrich’s session on how to thrive as an introvert on the job. You might have been looking for innovative paper or software solutions in the Exhibit Hall that could save your company money.

STEP 2 — Don’t Forget About the Sessions

At HOW Design Live we offer custom-tailored topical sessions —from Design & Creativity to Leadership to Branding and Packaging—and more! Each one offers a powerful arc that just might align with the areas where you’re looking to grow—for your personal development, and for the good of your organization. Don’t overlook the major companies and notable designers who are going to be at HOW Design Live, too … and don’t take for granted that your boss will always understand their impact. Be prepared to detail why packaging insights from PepsiCo’s chief design officer are so invaluable; be prepared to explain why getting to hear from someone like Debbie Millman is such a big deal when it comes to branding and creativity, and the work you do back at the office.

STEP 3 — State Your Case

Consider which medium you’re most comfortable—and effective—with. An email? An in-person conversation? A virtual meeting? Organize your points on paper, and arrange them in order of importance, bearing in mind that your company is likely interested in your professional development—but they’ll also want to know how your time at HOW Design Live will benefit work back home. Ultimately, it’s a year’s worth of inspiration, targeted how-to sessions and expert guidance packed into three concise days—true value, especially since you’ll have continued access to all the sessions on-demand for months to come, offering continued learning for you and your colleagues. Curious how all the above might look on the page? Here’s a template letter for inspiration.

STEP 4 — Break Out the Takeout Bag

If you’re comfortable doing so, propose to your boss that when you get back, you’d love to do a short presentation to your department or colleagues—or send around a deck with the biggest takeaways you gleaned during the event. (Want a little assist? Terri Trespicio held a session on this very topic last year. Watch it here! This is also a great way to mindfully absorb as much as you can while you’re at the show. Get creative with what you can offer—whether it’s a motivational poster with energizing quotes from the event for your fellow creatives or a white paper of in-house strategies from the smartest minds in the field, there’s no end to what you can bring back from Nashville.

STEP 5 — Clearly State the Ask

Don’t be timid. You’re asking to go to HOW Design Live, so say that you’d love to go to HOW Design Live and ask if they’ll send you. If your boss has the time, consider walking them through the conference website and all the sessions that will be at your disposal. Be transparent about the costs, and be real with what you hope to glean, and what you’ll offer when you get back. (Even if that involves a bribery pair of cowboy boots for your boss, should the situation warrant it.)

Do you want to attend HOW Women Lead our pre-conference event at HOW Design Live 2023, but need help convincing your boss as well? Check out our handy guide here!

Of course, if there’s anything you need from us to make your case, don’t hesitate to reach out. It’s going to be a banner year for HOW Design Live—and we can’t wait to see you there!