This week’s very simple insight will help you in a very common work situation – business meetings. Perhaps you’re in a meeting and want to be seen as authoritative or at least to be taking the lead. It is based on research undertaken at the University of California, Berkeley that found that it’s not the most intelligent people who are seen as leaders but the ones who speak up and are more dominant.

In the study from 2009 they gave students 45 minutes to discuss a certain situation and, at the end of that 45 minutes, they asked all those involved who out of the group they perceived as the leader, the person had become the authority in that group. The results showed that it was the one that spoke up the most. (The psychologists suggest that when people speak up they’re the first ones to lay down the law and people are less likely to challenge them).

Interestingly those who were perceived as leaders, in studies afterwards, were absolutely not the most intelligent people if you looked at maths for example – they weren’t the ones who are the most intelligence or the most skilled.

So next time don’t be afraid to speak up in business meetings – just doing that could be the first step on you being perceived more as a leader yourself.

Links to the research will be on the website and if you’re interested and want to learn more about meetology®, the behavioural science powering world-class people skills, head over to and sign up to get these Meetology Minutes every week .

I’ll be back in seven days with another Meetology Minute,

Until then, take care,


Jonathan Bradshaw
The Meetology® Lab


Anderson, Cameron, and Gavin J. Kilduff. “Why do dominant personalities attain influence in face-to-face groups? The competence-signaling effects of trait dominance.” Journal of personality and social psychology 96.2 (2009): 491.