It's your big night. You've somehow landed at the same party as the CEO of your dream company. You want desperately to impress him, but when you're introduced you find yourself trying too hard, talking too loudly, and even blurting out an off-color remark. You know this is not who you really are, but the expression on the guy's face makes it plain: You've blown it.

According to Jerker Denrell, assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, what's key in dispelling negative images is making sure you get a second—and third and fourth—chance. Having the opportunity to show different sides of yourself to bosses and colleagues in numerous situations—both social and professional—is, in fact, critical to your career advancement.

Denrell's research shows that when someone makes a negative impression on us, we're less likely to seek out that person again, making it difficult to gather additional information that could change our first impression. If, however, external factors force further interaction, there is opportunity to soften the first negative judgment, if not reverse it altogether.

Get the full story at the Stanford Graduate School of Business