Ten Tips for Building Your Case for Attending the 56th Annual Employee Benefits Conference

  1. Focus on the issues at hand. Write down three to five strategies or issues that are currently challenging you and the fund(s) you serve. Then explore the Annual Conference session schedule and make a list of the sessions that will help you address these immediate challenges.
  2. Highlight legislation that is taking place in 2010 and the need for compliance with it. 2010 is shaping up to be a banner year for new legislation. Health care reform will impact every plan, and other emerging legislative and regulatory updates will have implications for fund administration. From HIPAA, COBRA and ERISA to pension funding and beyond, you’ll learn directly from the government agencies responsible for interpreting the law.
  3. Call attention to the size of the Annual Conference. As the world’s largest benefits conference, the Annual Conference offers a comprehensive, time-intensive learning environment. Attending it is much more cost-effective and time-efficient than participating in multiple seminars or Webinars because you get all of the information you need in one place at one time.
  4. Demonstrate your return on attendance. Given the high cost of providing benefits, you can realistically quantify savings realized through education. Cite the numerous case studies, sessions on best practices in incentive and wellness programs, compliance, outsourcing, vendor selection and plan integration to justify true cost savings.
  5. Build a networking list. The Annual Conference is your unmatched source for networking, bringing together nearly 5,000 of your peers who serve benefit plans. Make note of speakers, exhibitors, industry representatives or other attendee groups you would like to meet, share strategies with or learn new techniques from.
  6. Talk up the takeaways. From free survey benchmarking data to practical takeaways from each session, the Annual Conference provides information you can put into action when you get home. And, you can bring back ideas or solutions from over 300 new or improved products and/or services presented in the exhibit hall.
  7. Emphasize the value of long-range planning. You’ll learn skills that will have a lasting effect on your role as a trustee or professional. List sessions that will help you improve plan design, save your fund money and fulfill compliance requirements.
  8. Offer to share handouts and present what you have learned. Immediately after the conference, write a short summary of what you learned and who you met at the conference, and how you will use the information you received and the contacts you made to improve your plan. Offer to deliver a short presentation, distribute speaker handouts, and conduct a question-and-answer session with your board, colleagues or members to share what you've learned.
  9. Register early for lowest registration, hotel and airfare rates. As with all Foundation conferences, you can save for the Annual Conference by signing up before the early registration deadline of October 3. Early registration will also ensure a larger variety of airfare and negotiated hotel room rate options. (See budget-conscious planning tips section for more information.)
  10. State your case. Use provided suggestions, full conference session outlines, videos from industry leaders, testimonials from your peers and the list of attending organizations to write a statement for making your case for attending.