Do Experts really understand what they talk about?
I am continually amazed by the arrogance of the media and many of the “experts” they refer to in their news articles and reports. In several of my writings on this page and others I contribute to I comment on the importance of how a person presents themselves in public and private meetings because it goes to the overall image. For instance you want to have a professional image in a business meeting in order to have your ideas be taken seriously. This would mean you don’t necessarily where khakis when those who called the meeting are wearing a more formal dark suit and certainly no jeans. For women it can be even more difficult because in some cases, (certainly not all so don’t call me out on this minor point), they have to fight against preconceived notions of what women can or should do in businesses. So I do agree how the woman dresses is important by no means do I believe it carries as much weight as the press has wanted to emphasize of late. The question becomes are they intentionally misrepresenting the importance of something in the grand scheme of things or do they truly not fully understand. I’ll leave that to you to decide. I’ve found many people speak as much out of bravado as of knowledge and a desire to positively affect other people.
Joan Walsh from MSNBC commented on Ivanka Trump’s dress wore bows on the sleeve & it was too “girly” for a patriarchal society. I’m sure Joan felt better after making that comment but it only reflects the limited scope of her analysis and judging by her dress, the limited understanding of the full scope of communication with other people. The words are significant and the visual image is also a big part of communication right along with the body language. Having worked in those societies I’ve learned that number 1 is the respect you show to the business people and her dress and body language communicated everything she needed. So Joan needs to learn more about her topic and MSNBC needs to get experts who know their subject. Not to pick on Joan so much because this is the arrogance that comes naturally to many people with only a few people listening to them. But this is one recent example of someone speaking far beyond her expertise and expecting everyone to accept it. All these little things combine to drive our understanding of day to day life and actions. Where Ivanka is concerned she wore a well tailored conservative dress that had some style to it. Comments made by Joan would suggest Ivanka was dressed for a social event rather than a business meeting. What I think Joan missed is that in this day and age an intelligent woman is capable of handling herself in a professional manner and still show some personality in the clothes she wears. She showed respect for the other professionals in the room and was able to carry herself with confidence. She doesn’t need to dress like those professionals in the 70 & 80’s wearing the pantsuits.
As we listen to the news of the day, social tweeting, facebook, etc., I would challenge everyone to ask simple questions of any speaker. Where are they coming from, what is there experience, how open do they seem to be to contrary ideas, do they get angry at contrary questions. The biggest question of all is are they changing the definitions of the words ever so slightly to fit the narrative they want you to see. I’ve seen this last one in engineering business meetings as well as in the classroom. Subtlety is the hard one to recognize.