Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Get Communication Skills to Get Ahead

Q. I'm basically shy at the office. When there's a meeting I get there early and take my seat and smile as everyone else enters. But if they call on me, or ask me to give a report on my department's projects, I stutter and stammer. I know I could take speech classes, but wonder if it's really that important. I do extremely well on the written reports and I know people like me despite this problem.

Ans. Get to a communications program as fast as you can. Stacey Hanke and Mary Steinberg, authors of "Yes You Can! Everything You Need From A to Z To Influence Others To Take Action" (US Trade Paperback $15) say that it's not what you say but how you say it that matters. So you must learn to say it with power. That shows in the way you stand, your tone of voice and the words you use, among other things. There's no substitute for strong communication.

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