CAREERS: Pandora's Problem Page

Q. I really enjoy the column. However, it seems that the questions are getting longer and longer and are filled with lots of detail that can be edited out. That way, you can get more questions and answers in. I'll keep this short and to the point.

Ms. T., Los Angeles

A. Thanks for your constructive criticism. In my opinion, details are a necessary part of every story, giving a voice and providing a narrative in which to involve the reader. When I dive into PRWeek's readers' e-mails, I try to figure out why a person is writing and what the problem really is (sometimes it's not as obvious as it seems). That requires knowing the full story behind the situation. In my column, I try to convey this to you, hoping that you gain insight into your own workplace situations.

PR pros are great storytellers, and the ability to learn from your mistakes (and the mistakes of others) is an admirable quality. But if it is more advice you seek, and there are burning questions you want answered, send them along, and I will dutifully tackle them, however long or short. Perhaps you'll find this next question a bit easier to swallow.

Q. Having recently been laid off from my job at a fairly large agency, I started my own practice out of my home, and I'm doing quite well. Next week I'm meeting with prospective clients to pitch a great new project, and while they have responded well thus far, they seem a little concerned that I work from home. How can I prove that I'm just as professional as someone who sits in an office all day?

Ms. A., Brooklyn

A. The trick is using what seems to be a weakness as a strength. By acting just as professionally as your agency counterpart and preparing well, you will demonstrate your diligence (the fact you're unfazed by the distractions that come from living at home) and creativity (your ability to excel without the resources of a large agency). But most of all, be sure to maintain an air of professionalism, confidence, and calm. The fact that you have convinced yourself should be enough to convince your prospective client.

- Do you have a problem that no one else has been able to solve? Try Pandora. E-mail her at pandora@prweek.com.

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