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Everyone knows the importance of a good handshake and a polite greeting. First impressions are crucial, and they can make or break a job interview or professional meeting. But after that, entrepreneur and former marketing exec Daron Pressley writes in a post for Black Enterprise, second impressions can be just as critical. What does he mean? Second impressions are made during the actual conversations that follow the initial pleasantries, and they’re “when the person begins to really assess who you are.” As Pressley says, “Don’t marginalize your first chance to make a second impression.”

Pressley has outlined three helpful tips on how to make a strong second impression. Read on to get his expert advice.

1. Go In With a Purpose — As Pressley writes, every conversation should have a purpose — otherwise, why waste your time? Have a goal in mind and stick to the agenda, even if it’s just getting to know the other person.

2. Do Your Homework — When you talk to someone in a professional setting, don’t yammer on about the weather and boring things like that. As Pressley writes, you’re liable to seem boring. Instead, preface the conversation by reading about the other person and making a mental note of things you might ask them about. Maybe they’ve done something in their career you find fascinating. But don’t fake it, Pressley warns. People can always tell.

3. Be Polite and Mindful of Time — The worst thing you can do, Pressley says, is “outstaying your welcome.” If the conversation is going really well, the other person may opt to prolong things, but leave that decision up to him or her. Also, be sure to express gratitude for the other person’s time. Even in today’s go-go-go world, manners matter, and if you want to have a chance to make a third or fourth impression, be sure to show some gratitude.


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