Keeping a low profile like Melania Trump, Hope Hicks or Taylor Swift can be a winning strategy.
Meekness isn’t always weakness.
Melania Trump has been one of the most press-shy First Ladies in modern memory – but it’s helped make her the most popular Trump, according to a recent CNN poll.
More than half (54%) of respondents have a favorable opinion of Melania, versus only 41% for President Donald Trump, 41% for Ivanka Trump and 20% for Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner, who speak on TV and social media almost daily.
That 54% approval rating is more than double Melania’s numbers from February, when a mere 24% of people had a positive view of her, and 21% had no opinion of her at all.
But the more Americans start getting to know the First Lady as she begins hosting events in the South Lawn vegetable garden, or speaks out against cyberbullying at the United Nations, the more they like her.
“There can be value in scarcity,” psychologist Dr. J. Ryan Fuller told Moneyish. “It’s supply and demand: ‘This person never speaks up, so this must be important’” when they do.
It’s a shrewd move shared by Trump adviser Hope Hicks, who has also avoided the spotlight by staying off of TV and Twitter, and keeping her Instagram private. She’s dodged most of the new administration’s controversies, and hasn’t been caught giving “alternative facts” on the record yet. And so she’s survived the revolving door in the West Wing to be named the new White House Communications Director.
Social media darling Taylor Swift also dropped off the radar for several months this year, and even wiped her Twitter and Instagram accounts clean, which whipped her fans into a frenzy. So when she broke her silence by dropping her new “Look What You Made Me Do” single and video in August, it broke records by drawing more than 40 million views in 24 hours on YouTube, and playing eight million times on Spotify within 24 hours.
It is important to participate at work – if you never speak up, you get lost in obscurity. But don’t fill the air with half-baked ideas just so you can get credit for speaking during the meeting. It’s better to think things through and read the room, first.
“The colleague who appears to attentively listen at most meetings – while everyone else is always dying to jump in and speak – typically gets all ears when he or she finally decides to chime in,” said Dr. Fuller.
And in the same vein, take a beat before you Tweet or rant on Facebook. “You need to think about what your goal is in sharing, what you are going to say, and how people will receive it,” said Dr. Fuller. “You want to imagine the consequences before you take the spotlight. When you do that, you will likely keep a lower profile than most, but others will also expect what you have to say to have more value and fewer errors.”
Staying under-the-radar also gives you room to grow. It’s still too soon to define what kind of First Lady Melania is shaping up to be; her husband’s been in office for just eight months, and she only moved into the White House after their son Barron finished school in June. But she’s got three more years, at least, to build a lasting legacy.
Matthew Costello and Evan Phifer from the White House Historical Association told Moneyish that First Lady Pat Nixon was reserved, like Melania, but she still used her high-profile position to advocate for veterans’ affairs and to visit wounded soldiers.
“Jackie Kennedy started out (in 1961) very quiet and very reserved,” added Costello, a senior historian. “And then she comes out of her shell renovating the White House, and doing White House tours, and the Kennedys start hosting concerts and events – and by the time she leaves the White House in 1963, she’s probably one of the most famous women in the United States.”
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