• Dick Lam

The 4 Stages of Speaking

Updated: Jun 19, 2019

There are 4 stages one might go through when learning to speak to groups or in public:


When we start, we are often quite nervous and what we planned to say does not turn out to be what we say.

This is the stage where people would prefer dying than speaking in public.

Interestingly, this is the easiest barrier to overcome. It lasts about 3 times on stage.

Isn't it interesting that the things that scare us the most are the easiest to overcome?

When you are a Scaredy Cat, your attention is on yourself.


The next stage is when you are comfortable with getting in front of people and they will tolerate and appreciate you. But you are not yet able to influence them yet. Your speaking is 'nice'. You are a Pussy Cat.

People like pussy cats, but pussy cats don't really change anyone's view or lead them.

Many people who speak never get past this stage. They have faced their fears, but are happy to be pussy cats. Nobody can hate pussy cats.

One can still get in front of people without making a fool of themselves. They are not effect, but they won’t change many lives.

When you are a Pussy Cat, your attention is coming off of yourself and onto what you are going to say next.

But this stage is also relatively easy to overcome. All it requires is the desire to do more than just be able to stand in front of an audience. It requires you to want to get a message across.


Those who aim higher need to learn how to Roar, but they don't know how yet. They are Pussy Lions.

Pussy Lions can have a hard time. They have high aims but cannot yet achieve them. "How do you get people to action? To buy? To follow what you say? To become passionate about this?"

In fact, this stage can be quite tough, because you can make the audience like you. But you don't want them to just like you, you want them to follow you. If you push too hard they might dislike you.

Their journey might take them to larger audiences with stronger messages – beseeching action. This will also stretch their ability and make them feel like a Scaredy Cat again.

This is the journey that few people actually take. It is the longest and hardest one. The education on this route is not standard, it must be travelled.

When you are a Pussy Lion, your main focus is not on yourself, not what you are going to say next, but on the Message you want people to have at the end.


And if one learns to travel the path, they come the last stage - they are a Lion.

They will roar and people will listen. Maybe they might lead the pack - a pride of other lions.

But people will pay attention because it is worthwhile listening to them.

But interestingly, when one can become a Lion one does not need to roar. The fears of having an audience is not the problem. The control of the audience is not the problem. You might feel like you have no problems. The problem you have is the audience - how to help them.

Actually, when you are a lion - you are strong enough to not have to show that you are a lion and can be gentle. And when that happens, you are more yourself.

The fourth stage is not really that you are a Lion, it is that you are Yourself.

Many people are not themselves in front of one person. They are uncomfortable or cannot influence one other person. The Lion is comfortable in front of many, and is able to give many a viewpoint that they have and convince others that it is worthwhile seeing it. They are themselves in front of many. This is truly being oneself.

Life is easier when you are a Lion. It is a matter of how much and when, not - can I do it? As a Lion you will be able to steer the audience to where you wish to lead them.

When you are Yourself, your main focus in not on yourself, not what to say next, nor on your message. It is on the audience.

So it is not by luck or talent that one moves up the pyramid of life in leadership or communication. One does not ‘fall’ into the top. It is a matter of desire. Of a road less traveled.

Of Lions.

#publicspeaking #presentationskills #leadership

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