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You’d like to attend a professional workshop, seminar or conference, but you need to convince the boss to fund it. Be prepared to show a return on investment (ROI) for your professional development and how it will benefit you and the organization. Use these persuasion tactics, says Joan Burge of Office Dynamics (www.officedynamicsltd.com):

Think about what motivates your executive. Is it ROI, the skills you will develop, your ability to return to the workplace and share the information with others, or the fact that you’ll be learning from an acclaimed expert in the field?

Present your case in your exec’s preferred format or communication style. For example, does she prefer concise information or details?

Show how the conference will help you with specific job responsibilities. Example: One of the topics covered will be understanding communication styles. The payoff? Better rapport with internal and external customers.

Let the boss know that you’ll share what you have learned with other assistants in your organization. Idea: Offer to hold a lunch ’n’ learn, open to any admins in the company, and share handouts, newly learned technical skills, etc. (A lunch ’n learn also offers you a chance to stretch your leadership and presentation skills.)

Connect the key learning points of the seminar or conference to your development plans for the year, as well as your department’s goals.

Negotiate if necessary. Example: Ask your executive to pay the registration and the hotel, and offer to pay the air fare.

Finally, don’t give up. “If you truly believe this training will help you professionally— even if that means simply rejuvenating your enthusiasm about your career—realize it may take three or four attempts,” says Burge.

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