You know the scenario. You read about a great seminar, workshop, or conference for administrative office professionals. The topics are of interest to you and will help you in your job. You walk into your manager’s office to request his or her approval only to hear “no”. You walk out. End of story.
Selling your executive on supporting your professional development is a skill. It’s also known as the art of persuasion. While teaching, coaching, and consulting with thousands of assistants nationwide, I have found that they don’t see they have to work at gaining support for training and development. They view it as a yes or no situation. “Yes, I’ll get to go” or “My manager will say no.” Instead, an assistant needs to view this as, “This is a great program. This will help me become a better assistant and a more valuable employee. How will I sell this to my executive?” You now have your subconscious working to develop ideas on how to get a “yes” from your executive.
I also hear assistants say, “My executive will never approve this” so they never even present their case to their executive. It’s all in positioning your thinking. You have to really believe that you are worth investing in and that you and your executive will both win big with this investment.
I’m providing this advice after being on both sides of the desk. For 20 years I was an assistant and I often had to persuade my executives to invest in administrative assistant seminars and conferences. Since 1990, I’ve been on the other side of the desk and I now see things as other executives and business owners do. There has to be return on the investment made in an employee. Use the guidelines below to help you sell the seminar or conference to your executive.
Points to Consider:
1. You need to continually learn and grow. In today’s competitive marketplace and at the pace this profession is changing, if you do not continually enhance your skills, build new ones, and have a strategy for your career, you will get left in the dust.
2. Don’t feel guilty about being out of the office to attend something that will make you better, faster, smarter, and sharper.
3. Get your executive to see the long-term payoff. Often executives think about the number of days you will be out of the office. You need to help them see that while you may be gone three or four days, you will gain skills and knowledge that will take you, and them, into the future.
4. Executives travel all over the country. Why shouldn’t you? Some assistants tell me they can only attend seminars that take place in their city or state. That is not 21st Century thinking. Assistants should be a business partner to their executive, so start acting like a business partner and convince your manager why you should be allowed to travel out of state.
5. I’m sure you receive lots of information on seminars, conferences, and workshops for administrative and executive assistants. You need to be selective. Some things to consider are: