Consistently, the group members who spoke up the most were rated the highest for such qualities as "general intelligence" and "dependable and self-disciplined." The ones who didn't speak as much tended to score higher for less desirable traits, including "conventional and uncreative."To test whether those who speak up are actually more competent, a different set of teams of four were asked to solve math problems from older versions of the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT). Once again, speaking up in the group mattered:
When the work was finished, the people who spoke up more were again likelier to be described by peers as leaders and likelier to be rated as math whizzes. What's more, any speaking up at all seemed to do. Participants earned recognition for being the first to call out an answer, but also for being the second or third — even if all they did was agree with what someone else had said.Researchers divided groups into all-male and all-female participants for this pair of experiments. (I'm looking for similar studies that mixed genders for a similar experiment, so we can look at what TIME calls "the wild card of gender.") Does this inspire you to speak up more in meetings? At a minimum, it should inspire you to focus on speaking skills as one part of your leadership arsenal.