You have decided you want to attend an administrative conference, you have determined your goals and which conference you want to attend. If you are like most assistants, the next big hurdle is getting approval from your executive to attend the conference. Below are my tried and true tips for being persuasive.
- Know exactly what you want to accomplish by attending the conference. You should list your objectives alongside each topic in the curriculum and how that will tie into your current job or prepare you for the future.
- To be a good seller, consider the buyer’s viewpoint. Try to put yourself in your executive’s position. What key selling points, would be important to your executive? How will your executive benefit from you attending training or a seminar?
- Learn what motivates your executive. Is your executive motivated by ROI (return on investment), the skills you will develop or you learning from an acclaimed expert in the field? Does your executive believe in personal development and growth? If not, it will be a harder sell but don’t give up; be persistent.
- Keep in mind the format you will use to present your case. Try to gauge your receiver’s communication style preference. Does your executive prefer information short and to the point or does your executive like details? Is your executive a visual learner? If so, provide graphs or charts to make your point.
- Tie key learning points of the seminar or conference to your professional development plan for the year and to the goals of your department.
- Show your executive how what you will learn will help you in specific areas of your job. For example: Let’s say one of the topics covered will be learning and understanding communication styles. Tell your executive you will use that information to be a better communicator by tapping into the receiver’s style; build rapport with internal and external customers; and complement your executive’s and his or her staff’s communication styles.
- If your executive still says no to your attendance, sincerely ask your executive why he or she believes this is not a good investment. You may be able to counter that perception.
- It always helps to let your executive know that you will share what you have learned with other assistants in your organization. But be absolutely cognizant of copyrights.
- Emphasize the benefits of networking with peers and learning from others in the field.
- Negotiate if necessary. Ask your executive to pay the registration fee and hotel and you’ll pay your airfare. Or you pay for your hotel stay and ask your executive to pay for registration and airfare. Be creative!
- If all else fails, maybe you need to make the financial investment in yourself. Yes, I said you make the investment. I know several high-performing assistants who have spent thousands of dollars on their development and have reaped tremendous rewards over the years.
There is a fine art to persuading others but it is one that is worth developing.