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Reclaim Your Reputation

What happens when you field your first interaction like a grounder to Bill Buckner? All hope is not lost. If you know you dropped the ball, here’s how to recover before it’s too late.

Face It

First impressions are snap decisions, but there’s still time to change a person’s opinion once it’s been formed. Start by actively pursuing a second chance. This might seem obvious, but according to researchers at Stanford, when you know you’ve made a bad first impression, your natural reaction is to avoid that person. So whether it’s asking for another date or requesting a follow-up meeting with your boss, know that you have extra work to do.

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Be Honest

Once you’ve opened the door for another chance, don’t act as if nothing happened: Admit that you blew it. Incorporate some self deprecating humor to show that you’re not afraid to admit your mistakes. When you point out your flaws, you not only show confidence, you also balance the playing field, because all people know that they have areas of weakness. If you’re open to talk about your own flaws, they’ll be more likely to accept them and see what else you have to offer.

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Remember the Halo Effect

The “halo effect” is a psychological principle that states that one positive trait can lead to the perception of other positive traits. Accentuate your best attributes. Maybe it’s prior successes you’ve had (to impress your boss) or it could be how adventurous you are (to intrigue your date or fellow colleagues). No matter what, if you can pinpoint some of your good stuff in an honest fashion, you’re more likely to trigger thoughts that can reverse your initial poor review.

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