05/31/2012 11:55 am ET Updated Jul 31, 2012

Principles of Persuasion

This week I want to share with you an article I just wrote for a trade newsletter. I hope this topic will make you look at gaining support for training and attending conferences in a new light.

You read about a great seminar, workshop, or conference. The topics are interesting 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, known as the art of persuasion. You have to work at gaining support for training and development. Instead of viewing it as a yes or no situation, view it as, "This is a great program. This will help me become better at my job and a more valuable employee. How will I sell this to my executive?" You now have your subconscious working to come up with ideas on how to get a "yes" from your 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. But, there has to be a return on the investment made in an employee. The guidelines below will help you to sell the seminar or conference to your executive.

Principles of Persuasion:

  1. Know exactly what you want to accomplish by attending the training or conference.
  2. How will your executive benefit from you attending training or a seminar? Is your executive motivated by ROI (return on investment), the skills you will develop, or you learning from an acclaimed expert in the field?
  3. Offer options. Say, "Would you rather I attend the conference in May in California or the seminar in September in Atlanta?"
  4. Does your executive prefer information short and to the point or does your executive like details?
  5. List the specific topics covered at the seminar or conference and how they tie in to your job or future work.
  6. Let your executive know that you will share what you have learned with co-workers.
  7. Negotiate. Ask your executive to pay the registration and hotel and you'll pay your airfare. Or, you pay for your hotel and ask your executive to pay for registration and airfare. Be creative!

Have the courage to go after what you want. That in itself is a learning experience.