Here's a quick lesson on why it pays to be persistent when asking for something.
Last week, I attended a project management conference here in the Detroit area. It's held every year, and thousands of people attend as it gives required credits that are needed to maintain professional certification. My day is filled with various speakers and presentations that discuss knowledge and trends in the profession. It's not the most exciting thing in the world. Sometimes if you pick a poor speaker, can be an outright drag, but for once per year, it's not a bad day.
I go just about every year as it satisfies about 40% of our yearly requirements in one day.
I got my project management certification while at my current job, so I've only attended the conference while working for my current employer. One thing that has always been a constant is that, while we were given the OK to attend the conference on company time, they would not pay for the conference.
It's not that much money, about $150-200 over the years, but it was still enough of a sum that it hurt a bit when writing the check.
The Same Answer
Every year, I would ask if the company would consider paying, and every year I would be told the same answer.
Every year, until this year. I asked a few months ago and this time, the answer was ‘Yes'.
Now, I know that I was not the only one to ask, so while I'd like to take credit for it, I know that it is not my credit alone to take. Still, I know that it was through the persistence of me and my colleagues that it ended up happening.
How To Be Persistent And Get What You Want
- Ask Politely. I would always make sure to ask my manager if they'd consider paying, and would always approach it in a way that was polite.
- State Your Case . I noticed that other IT groups, which were technology based, often had people attending training. I pointed out that although we were more process oriented, our training was still beneficial to the organization
- State The Benefits. I've already pointed out the benefits to attending the conference: I get knowledge, continued certification, and a day off of work! That's great, but when presenting the benefits to my manager, I would talk about how this would help the organization.
- Understand Politics. Year after year, we'd be told ‘no' and I never blamed my manager. I understood that the decision came from higher above.
- Know When To Escalate (And When Not To). Since the decision as being made by people higher up than my boss, it's tempting to go right to them. In some cases, this might actually make sense, namely if you feel it's your boss that's torpedoing the process. I knew that our boss was in 100% support. In other words, she had it. I didn't want to go over her head. She might think I didn't trust her. I also didn't want to seem pushy.
- Allow Time. The conference was last week, but I had the initial conversation with my boss back in January. If I'd waited until two weeks ago to ask, it likely would have been an automatic ‘no'. But it wasn't!
- Don't Give Up – I've been asking for years. I could have easily assumed that I knew the answer since it'd been the same every year before. Things change, so keep asking.
Making It Work
The bottom line is to be persistent but to make sure not to be annoying or pushy. It might take time and you might not ever get what you want, but it never hurts to ask. After all, the worst that they can say is ‘no', right?
Readers, have you ever had a ‘no' become a ‘yes'? Tell me about it and if you have any other tips to get what you want, in the comments below. Thanks for reading!