Before you approach your boss to present a new idea or a project, you've simply got to be prepared. If you're trying to convince your boss to say "yes", it will require two major things on your part: confidence, and knowledge of the subject you're talking about. If you want approval to attend any given conference, you'll need to build a strong case.
First, you've got to explain to your supervisor what makes this conference so unique and worthwhile. Here are three of the top reasons:
- You will learn the most strategic, forward-thinking marketing strategies. The industry leaders are always ahead of the curve. In order to stay competitive, you must also be knowledgeable about current trends and successful tactics. It's in your best interests--as well as those of your boss--to take advantage of what these leading experts have to say. Whether it's SearchLove, YMS New York, the Social Tools Summit, Social Fresh, or any of Inc's events, learning from the best will put you ahead of the pack.
- You will know where to focus your time and energy to see results. Many companies waste time running test campaigns and going through a lot of trial and error before discovering the formula to success. In fact, inefficiencies may cost a given company as much as 20 to 30 percent. A good conference will include speakers that not only challenge your current way of thinking, but will share their actionable advice to put you on the fast track.
- This is a networking opportunity you can't pass up. Some of the world's top experts in your field will be there, and you will have access to the best and brightest thought leaders in the industry. In as little as 5 minutes, you can learn a lot from picking one's brain--provided it is the right brain. And who knows, maybe you'll even create a few new partnerships!
While you're having a discussion about getting approval, it's helpful to keep these techniques in mind:
- Pick the right time to talk about it. The expression "timing is everything" is especially true in this case. In order to make sure you have your boss' undivided attention, you should plan to speak during a time of day that is least stressful for both of you. For example, it would not be in your best interest to schedule a time to talk at the end of a back-to-back meeting day. Likewise, don't try to schedule time on a day where it's 2pm and your supervisor hasn't had lunch yet. You don't want to try to get an approval from someone who is 'hangry.'
- Create a strong, succinct proposal. This will not only help keep your thoughts organized, but might also impress your boss, as it demonstrates that you have done your homework and are taking this opportunity seriously. Don't make it longer than it has to be: trim out all the fat and make it relevant to the questions you anticipate from your supervisor.
- Have some dirt on them. Have evidence of a mistress or embezzlement? That always helps.
I'm kidding. Sort of.
- Be enthusiastic. Passion and energy can be contagious. If you go into the meeting with confidence and enthusiasm, your boss will be more inclined to comply and give you what you're asking for. Even if you're nervous, channel those nerves into excitement and it will make you come across in a positive light.
Of course, every boss is different, and it pays to listen to your gut. For the most part, however, if you follow these guidelines, you will make it much easier for your boss to say yes. And, wherever you're going, hopefully I'll see you there.