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Job Hunting and Career Planning — Q&A with the Career Coach

s a series of articles featuring questions from readers and answers from 42-year Human Resources veteran and career coach Cliff Montgomery. Future questions can be submitted to him at his address below:

Q: For the first time in my career, my manager has asked me to give a presentation on what I’m working on to our entire Department. While I appreciate the opportunity, I’m a little nervous. I wondered whether you have any suggestions for me?

A: First of all, take pride in the fact that your manager had enough confidence in you to ask you to make this presentation. Good for you. Also know that some apprehension is normal in situations like this, but the more you practice your presentation, the more confident and less anxious you will become. This begins with making sure you find out exactly what your manager’s and the audience’s expectations are and organize your presentation to achieve those objectives. One of your early challenges will be to capture your audience’s attention, and I always tried to start my presentations with a question for the audience, the answer to which will lead you into your subject. Don’t get stuck behind a podium and feel free to walk around the front the room talking directly, and making eye contact with individuals in the audience. Let your personality come through by using humor, if you’re comfortable with it, or telling stories to keep your audience’s attention. Do not read your speech unless it is required due to the technical content and work from a brief outline which will jog your memory and keep you on task. Use your hands and voice effectively, avoiding nervous gestures. At the conclusion, try to end with a strong statement that will be remembered, ask if there are any questions and throughout, don’t forget to smile and have fun.

Q: In a recent all-employee meeting, my boss’s boss announced three promotions, and I was one of them. That’s the good news. … After announcing the first two promotions and gushing about the performance of both employees, she then announced mine and her only comment was that it will be more work and give me an opportunity to be more strategic. This really hurt my feelings and I wondered how you suggest I handle it? Up until now, my performance ratings have been good, my salary is increasing, and I like my boss and the company in general. I just haven’t been able to get over her comments.

A: While her words could have been better, and your feelings are understandably hurt, I would urge you to step back and take look at the big picture. You were in fact promoted, and your boss’ manager must have approved it. Your compensation appears to reflect your good performance and unlike many employees, you like your boss. You also like the company you work for and it appears they value you. I would suggest you casually ask your boss what she thought of the comments, but in light of all the other good things that are happening to you, I’d recommend you let this one go, look forward, and enjoy your new role.

Send your questions to Clifford E. Montgomery, CPC, executive and career coach in New Hope. He can be reached at 908-209-1642 or at His website is