Don’t disparage meetings. They’re “your greatest opportunity to be visible and show your organization what you bring to the table,” says Luann Pendy, VP-global quality at medical-device company Medtronic. She tells Jo Miller, CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching Inc., that it is important for women to show their leadership qualities at meetings, even when they are not the acknowledged leader. The article was written for The Daily Muse and reprinted in Forbes.

“You can use your time in meetings to show your effectiveness, your intelligence, and your leadership skills,” Pendy says.

She offers four tips for maximizing the value of meetings. Then first is to know your role and why you were asked to attend. Then exceed those expectations, Pendy tells Miller.

She says her life changed when she accepted criticism that she offered too little feedback and spoke up more. “Employees said, ‘Thanks for supporting me.’ My peers said, ‘Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your ideas.’ And the management said, ‘Thanks for leading,’” Pendy recalls.

You’ve heard the advice to find a mentor before but Pendy suggests finding a mentor who is especially adept at participating in and leading meetings. Every organization has its meeting etiquette. Be sure you understand yours.

Finally, let your posture show that you’re engaged in the discussion. “When you’re in a business meeting, if you’re leaning forward and you’re putting your elbows on the table, it tells the group you’re engaged, interested, and have something to contribute,” Pendy argues.

And when a meeting closes, volunteer to lead something or take on a future action. It will put you on the list for the next meeting.

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