How-to: Request Professional Development Funds for the Visual Thinking Workshop

Are you hoping to attend the Visual Thinking Workshop in September, but need to get professional development funds to cover it? We are here to help!

Here is our step-by-step guide to requesting professional development resources for the workshop.

1. Is there a professional development budget?

If you don't know already, ask your manager or your HR person whether funds have been allocated for 2017. Are funds still available at this point in the year? Often professional development budgets can be use it or lose it, so Q3 is a good time to check in on the status. It's also a good idea to educate yourself about any policies concerning professional development reimbursement. This may include a per diem for food and expenses or a requirement for certification. Never fear! You will receive a certificate upon successful completion of XPLANE's Visual Thinking Workshop so that you can tick that box for HR.

2. Identify your goals and your company goals. How do they ladder up?

You will have to make the case that learning visual thinking skills will help you meet your professional goals, which in turn will help your organization achieve its goals. Here is a prompt to help frame your thinking. If visual thinking will help my team get on the same page, communicate complex ideas with cross-functional partners, and help make faster decisions as a team, how does alignment, collaboration, and faster decision-making help your company achieve its goals? Bonus points if you can tie the skills you will learn to the success of a specific project or initiative.

3. Estimate your travel expenses.

You will need to present the total cost of attending the workshop to apply for reimbursement. Don't forget you will be served lunch both days of the workshop.

4. Will you have the ability to train your coworkers?

In addition to articulating how your new skills will be applied to a specific initiative, it will help your case to offer some kind of training when you return to the office. After all, wouldn't it be great if more people around your office could use diagrams and drawings when they are explaining something complicated? The training doesn't have to be formal. Offering a lunch and learn event to report out to the company about your experience shows that you care and that you believe in the value of your new skills.

Other helpful talking points.

A 1-day workshop is a fully immersive learning experience. It's quick and powerful instead of a training that takes place over a longer period of time which can be a drag on the organization. Your team can likely live without you for 1-2 days.

If your business cycle experiences a Summer slump, the end of Summer (aka right now) is usually a good time for companies to fund professional development because business tends to be slower and folks are on vacation.

Be very clear about the skills you will learn. Here is the breakdown.

Visual Thinking 101: The Foundations of Visual Thinking

  • Visual Alphabet
  • Drawing people 101
  • Visual Frameworks
  • Scenario Visualization
  • Information Design 101
  • Visual Communications Model

Visual Thinking 201: Applying Visual Thinking to your Organization

  • Visual Sensemaking
  • Visual tools for storyboarding
  • Visuals for Meeting Design
  • Information Design 201
  • Visual Frameworks for Alignment
  • Visual Facilitation

For more detail, check out the FAQs here.

Last word to the wise. XPLANE will grant you a certification, but please note that the Visual Thinking Workshop is not accredited by an educational institution. This will not meet HRCI or CE credits.

Here's a sneak peak at the certification anyway!



Get your ticket to the workshop before they sell out. Early-bird pricing ends 8/18!