I recently spent a month interviewing the group heads of a large financial services company in order to understand how their direct reports need to communicate as they move into leadership positions. Again and again, I heard the same comment: “If you are in the room for a meeting, we expect you to speak up. Don’t wait for someone to ask you.”

In many organizations, our leadership readiness is measured in part by our willingness to speak up in meetings. How we speak off the cuff can have a bigger impact on our career trajectory than our presentations or speeches, because every single day we have an opportunity to make an impact.

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