Overcoming Anxiety and Fear in Public Speaking Ep22 with Dr. Beau Adams

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Dr. Beau Adams received his bachelor of arts in communications from Georgia State University before earning a master’s of divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He also holds a PhD in organizational leadership from the University of Phoenix.

Adams is the pastor of Community Bible Church in Stockbridge, Georgia. The church–which has a membership of six thousand Christians–reaches an audience of thousands more both locally and internationally through its online campuses and satellite locations. It has been on Outreach magazine’s list of the hundred fastest-growing churches in America several times.

Adams is affiliated with Dr. John Maxwell’s EQUIP Ministries, which sends pastors overseas to train other pastors and church leaders. Through EQUIP, Adams has spoken publicly in Brazil, Portugal, England, and India.

Beau is married to Kim and they have two adult children. He is the owner of “the greatest dog in the world.” Beau is also the Atlanta Falcons #2 fan (Kim is #1).

Get in touch with Dr. Beau Adams through:

Victor Ahipene: Speaker nation, welcome to another episode of public speaking secrets podcast. I’m your host, victor, trying to make public speaking more enjoyable to give it more enjoyable to receive on the other agents. I have got a now the expert and a more, a different nature to many of our other speakers by more than a couple of speaker himself and author talks about Adams and he is a, uh, the head of a church in south Atlanta in the United States of America. And we’re going to delve into how, uh, he has been able to share his message and the strategies and systems that he sits up. And then we’re also just going to find out a bit more about them. So welcome to the show beau.


Beau Adams: Oh, thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.


Victor Ahipene: So I saw when, when, when I was researching you and put your bio and things like that. You did your first, your first degree was a bachelor of communications.


Beau Adams: Yeah. Yeah. And there’s kind of a story that leads up to that, I guess, uh, um, when I was in the 11th grade in high school, I remember my teacher English teacher saying, we’re all gonna have to give an oral presentation. And uh, so I was, I was terrified to doing that. But anyway, I followed the instructions, you know, they said get a note card, write everything in, need on the note cards and flip the note cards. So just stand up. And I got in front of the class that day. And, and, uh, I, I read off the first note card, but I was so, I was so terrified standing in front of other people speaking that I literally cannot flip to the next card. I completely froze. And, and, and in that fear and freezing like that, a friend of mine in the back of the back of the class started laughing before, you know, what the whole class was laughing at me and I just went and sat down.


And, uh, I just remember it got a bad grade or walked out of class that day. And I made a promise to myself. I remember right where I was when I said it, I said, I promise I will never ever speak in front of people again in my life. And uh, but what’s amazing about that for me, it’s my faith. It was really interesting because at that moment it was almost like I heard this voice that said, perfect. Then now you have to speak for me. I’ll have to be the one speaking through you from now on. And so after that I always was always was at this place that I know I can’t do it myself. I need somebody greater to be able to do it through me if I’m ever going to be effective, if I’m ever going to make a difference. And that just didn’t lead me on where I found myself in places where I started speaking and, and went to Georgia state university and said, teach me more. I got to learn more. I’ve got to learn these skills to be able to communicate effectively. And so, so that’s how that degree all came about. I decided, what else do I need to do? Hey, I just need to learn to have a community.


Victor Ahipene: It’s funny with the, uh, with the, almost a baptism of fire, it’s like, yeah, I hate speaking so I’m probably going to do a bachelor of communication, but the funny thing and I’ll be interested to get your thoughts on it, like going, going to do that. I mean, uh, of 13, 14, 15 year old situation is often people’s first proper talk in your English class and often we’re getting taught how to speak by someone who’s not a great speaker themselves and it’s not even getting to think it’s getting to write down an essay onto cue cards or modern day. It’s probably PowerPoint in classes now and then to recite that hopefully give eye contact every once in a while. And I think that’s what starts the self-limiting belief that I can’t be a speaker. I’m not a good speaker because I’m not great at memorizing it. I, yeah, a five minute speech and things like that. How, how did you find it? I guess like is it something that you’d agree or disagree with and then when you went and started that degree to things change like did you actually learn systems to be able to speak to?


Beau Adams: Absolutely, and one of my, one of my favorite professors, one of the things that he initially told everybody, he said, if you’re afraid, if you’re nervous, he goes, then that’s exactly where you need to be a. He said, if somebody gets up and they’re not initially afraid or nervous about speaking in front of people, they bring no life to what they’re saying instead that he says channel that nervousness, channel that energy into being animated into expressions and so forth, and so he began to teach us that and one of the cardinal rules for speaking, he, he would say, don’t memorize. Don’t memorize what? When you. When, when you try to memorize something, you get to that one or two words that yeah, can’t remember and it causes you to pause and then that pause caused you to. It just grows. It gets worse and worse, and so to be able to speak freely becomes a much more effective way that I found to minister. Then try to memorize things.


Victor Ahipene: Yeah. And I guess that’s the, that’s the thing that I think it’s kind of using two when you try and do that, you’re using both sides of Bryan ones. Try to uh, remember what to say and then the other one’s got to try and perform that rather than just delivering more, more centrally. So you, you, you went in there and I guess did you have. How did you feel at the end of the degree had you, did you feel you’re confident art to that stage?


Beau Adams: It’s a lifelong process. It is a lifelong process and I can’t remember who made this point to me a long time ago. He said, for anything that you do, you can get to, you can increase a lot up to a that 90 percent. In other words, you work on this and you get a lot better to get a lot better. He goes, why don’t you get over that 90 percent. That 10 percent is just minuscule. Yeah, you’ll get a little bit better, but you keep working at it a little bit better, a little bit better over time. And um, uh, honestly for me, you know, I speak to a lot of people every weekend and I’ve done a will have been in ministry now a church for 30 years this June and uh, you would think after all this period of time that I would, uh, before I get up that I would just be a no worries. I’m fine, you know, but I still, I still to this day have this anxiety, anxiousness when I stand up before I speak, uh, but I have to, over the years I’ve learned how to channel that and just use those things to get a little bit better in certain areas to be able to connect with people, to be able to communicate effectively.


Victor Ahipene: And what do you think that anxiety is? Do you think it’s the, uh, the, the, the pressure to make sure that you can invite an important message? Wow. Is it, is it the, did not to know your insights into that?


Beau Adams: Great, great question. That’s a great question. And the reason is because yeah, I have found that I cannot effectively speak about things that I don’t care about, if that makes sense. In other words, if I’m just given a random bit of a bunch of information and I, I can’t, I can’t stand there. I get confused. I get lost with this. If there is something that is important, a message that I believe in my heart, then I can communicate and the way that I need to communicate it. And uh, and so I think it is feeling that overwhelming. This is important. This is what people need to hear, this is where we’re at and you feel that weight and that weight builds for me all throughout the week leading up to that message. Um, I’ll, I’ll write on Tuesdays and distribute the outlines and so forth to other pastors who will be taking that message and preaching wherever it is and have them going to as well.


And we talk about it on Wednesdays, but then my wife will tell you on Saturday. Um, I am, I’m a weird person. I zoned out. I, I, I’ve done this for years, there’s a place in the woods, a park that I go and I just walk and uh, and as I walk, um, that message is going over and over in my head and that is also a place where I get most of my illustrations, the illustrations that a take that reality or that truth that I’m trying to convey and bring it home that, that, that makes the heart connection that people made was when you speak on a truth. Does that make sense?


Victor Ahipene: And we talk about it on Wednesdays, but then my wife will tell you on Saturday. Um, I am, I’m a weird person. I zoned out. I, I, I’ve done this for years, there’s a place in the woods, a park that I go and I just walk and uh, and as I walk, um, that message is going over and over in my head and that is also a place where I get most of my illustrations, the illustrations that a take that reality or that truth that I’m trying to convey and bring it home that, that, that makes the heart connection that people made was when you speak on a truth. Does that make sense?


Beau Adams: They’re also very different. Um, but there are certain elements that I usually put into every message and one of the things that I use a lot of his humor because humor disarms a bunch of people if you can. And especially self-deprecating humor, if you can make the joke about yourself first and have people laughing with you about something, they become very disarmed and they’re open to everything else that you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re. In other words, they’re saying, well, he doesn’t think more of himself than he should. He’s not this, you know. And so they say, okay, tell me what you’re talking about. And the listen better. And so I, I certainly try to use humor in a lot of my speaking, but then at the same time, there are so many, there are so many common things that happened to me in a day that even happened to you in a day or anybody else who’s sitting there listening and if you take one of those common events are those common stories, common things that happened to you this last week and you don’t do it so you’re always talking about yourself. But if you’re able to take something and say, Hey, this happened to me, and everybody else can say, yeah, that happened to me too. And then suddenly that that would happen. You connect that as an illustration to this truth that I’m trying to teach. It’s then that you almost said people go, oh, okay, now I get it. And because they can suddenly relate to it.


Victor Ahipene: Yeah. It’s funny you say that. It’s like Jerry Seinfeld, he, he built the Seinfeld TV or a stand out as. Yeah, I mean, I know comedians do it about happened, but Jerry Seinfeld is so good at. You look at all his shows. You lifting or list stand out. They’re not these hilarious stories. It’s like, it’s funny because it’s ridiculously true and everyone and it makes you, it makes you relatable. And um, yeah, I mean the other interesting point that, that you had in here I had, um, I, I had early in the morning, um, one of my past guess he, he wrote, do you talk funny? And in the book it talks about how the funniest Ted talks which are on, you know, like, uh, the future of education by Sir Ken Robinson and uh, the most, uh, like Bernay Brown on vulnerability and things. They have more laughs per minute then movies like the hangover and other really, really funny movies and they’re not like rolling on the floor laughing kind of humor.


But it’s amazing that some of the most serious topics that have been viewed and had the biggest impact had so much humor into woven into them to, like you say, decided could your onsite disarm people. But it’s A. I mean, it’s absolutely true. And I think it’s a really, really, really, really good point. And as you say, speaking as a lifelong task and uh, I think for me, I’m a generally naturally funny, but putting that into talks and been able to teach people to, uh, and to intertwine laughter as I think, I think, uh, one of the, one of the base skills that make it a big difference with your, uh, when it comes to speaking. So that’s really, really interesting. So let me have it refined me. Delve into, we were saying, Oh, fear you’ve, you’ve written some books and you’re launching them books. Tell me a bit about that.


Beau Adams: Yeah. The first book I wrote several years ago called seven stupid things people do to mess up their lives. And so I found a lot of people go, that’s all I had time in the bookstore is not exhaustive but, but yeah. Uh, and so, uh, we put out several years ago and candidate really is turned out to be a great book, especially for, um, I have now I have a 24 year old and a 23 year old. But, but there were those years, my kids are 17, 18, 19. And they’re going through certain things and I’m, I’m wanting to be able to say to them, don’t do the stupid things your dad did, you know, and, and let me help you here and let’s talk about these things. And so it’s great for anybody going through maybe that type of stuff or maybe you know, you have, you have a 30 year old, he’s doing the same thing we did.


You’re saying, I still need this book, but yeah. And so that was the first one that came out, which is a, we really enjoyed it and getting it out there and people really enjoyed that, that title seven stupid things. But uh, uh, the most recent one we just released this last December is a book called restoration and we titled the Restoration, Heal your soul, heal your life. And it’s a, it’s all about the restoration, different areas of our lives. Maybe it’s restoration and relationships and how to, how to restore relationship that was once broken or it’s a restoration, a restoration physically and getting the health that you need, all these different areas of our life and how to go about that. And so that one’s just a, we just, we just put that out and that’s been a really big success. I’m seeing a lot, a lot of neat things happen with that one already.


Uh, one other. I was going to bring to your attention as well. It’s called stones of gratitude and uh, um, it’s, it’s based on the idea that we can have a rich life and we just begin to realize, have gratitude for all the different things in our life and take time to look at these things and appreciate things that happened to us maybe in our past, even though one time we thought that was a terrible thing. And, and, uh, you know, but to actually take time to go, you know, what, I’m going to be thankful even for the tough times that I had in my life because it taught me this and it brought me to this place. And so that was called stones of gratitude there.


Victor Ahipene: That’s an interesting point too, because I, I try and talk with people about that when they going to do a presentation for the first time or talking to a bigger audience and never half and it’s, it’s often a good, uh, assistance in coping with those anxiety and the fear and things like that would like, hey, you’ve got an awesome message. You get to that. You’re going to go out there and impacts some people. You’ve got, you’ve got the chance. Yeah. It’s really hard to be fearful and grateful at the same time. Uh, a future if you’re going, oh, this is awesome. I’m going to go and speak in front of all these people and have a, have an awesome experience and I’m going to change lives. So yeah, it impacts families or whatever it is. It’s really hard on the flip side to be like, oh no, I’m going to go and stuff a lot for the, this is too many people when things like that. So highly, highly recommend that to a lot of people. And I think if people are looking to dive into more of that, then they should, uh, should get, uh, get on. Those will link the more public speaking blueprint.com. If people want to search them elsewhere, we should. They go.


Beau Adams: Go to Amazon. You can purchase the books there. I know it’s spelled a little weird, a little different than most people would think, but it’s B-E-A-U Adams. You can put that on Amazon books will pop up. Or even my website is beauadams.com. Just hit it there. Okay.


Victor Ahipene: If you, if you forget a public speaking blueprint.com, you can find all the episodes. I wanted to touch on one last thing. And it was, it was when you were talking about the kind of self-deprecating humor and making it a kind of relatable thing about that. And I found it really interesting because this is kind of a, a bit of a movement or thoughts that have inhibited us in regards to, you know, we all hate being told what to do. We call it storytelling. This is, yeah. Is it the. Yeah, the story showing or the story selling that some of the woods flattened around now that it’s your cell, it set, not sell. It isn’t selling the physical thing, but selling the idea of, hey, this is, it’s effective because it’s me or it’s a, you know, I’m showing you that I’m more relatable, that it’s part of me rather than the tally.


How do you, how do you go about when you obviously would use a lot of stories and your and your deliveries and things like that. How do you, how do you go about a setting them up and taking them on a journey? So it’s not necessarily, and sorry to use the word, but preaching that, um, because I think a lot of things has changed in regards to getting a message across in. It’s not like don’t do this, don’t do this, don’t do this. Because we all know what people are going to do. It’s like, don’t eat that donut that we’ve got in front of you or probably an eight at a versus creating, creating a movement for people.


Beau Adams: Yeah. That book I was talking about stupid things to mess up our lives in the book and in the messages that led to the book, I would say, all right, here’s some, something stupid and people realizing that I’ve done these stupid things as well. And uh, and then I’ll tell a story, you know, and in order for me to tell a story, um, I, uh, I see it in my head what happened and I’m talking through what happened as I see it in my head. Does that make sense? And so I have that picture. And so I just began to tell them one thing that I talked about recently was a, I’ve had a lot of speeding tickets in my life. My wife has not. And uh, and so she’s always kind of held that over my head, right? Well, she called me one day and said, you’re not going to believe this.


I just got pulled over and had a speeding ticket and so I talked to everybody through about my inward rejoicing over. She finally got, he had to go, she had to actually go stand before the judge. She was scared to death. And so I’m telling everybody the story of how, you know, they marched her in with all the other criminals and she had to stand there and listen to the judge and the judge actually said, and I’m gonna let you go on this. And, and, uh, just the commentary that I would have in this, you know, how dare he let her go, but see what I’m talking about is how I’ve failed so many times and been the one to get speeding tickets, you know, and uh, and relating that to all the different other stupid things that we do in our lives. And uh, and so it just kinda gives you a way in where people go, you know what? I’m one of those who I’ve had a lot of tickets as well. Or maybe I’m one of those who I’m like your wife who never does anything, but it’s, it’s, it’s a way in where people can relate. And uh, and they, so often you think about this, that my congregation, I’ll have people bringing guests all the time who have never been to church before. And the last thing I want to do is come here, a preacher preached to them, right? And so you can almost imagine how many of them are sitting there with their arms crossed saying, okay, now let’s see what you can teach me. Come on, you know, this is kind of a dare you to say something. And uh, and so like I said, it breaks down those defense mechanisms.


Victor Ahipene: I’m interested to ask, and this is more of a personal interest question that anything I listened to the startup series, I’m like gimlet media and it was a bad day. They did it, uh, probably about a seven or eight part series on church planting and sitting up and like the, the difficulties in growing the modern day church. Uh, you know, getting, getting new people when, you know, obviously things have have, have changed from yoga in a seven day workweek now and all these different difficulties. How is uh, yeah, and, and it seemed like the ones that were successful with A. Yeah, the not necessarily the ones up on stage yelling and singing and chanting and everything else, but the ones that can buy a pretty good message is the way I took it. But how has, what are some of the, I guess, marketing strategies of growth strategies that, that you have to use in the modern day? Is it speaking? Is it getting into other areas and sharing your word as it, you know, different things. Like what, what have you found found effective for growth? Because I’m sure it’s applicable to all parts of business.


Beau Adams: Sure. That’s a really long conversation because there were so many different variables and we’ve had to address so many throughout the years. Uh, certainly, uh, it’s uh, the way the message is communicated on my park versus what people might have been used to growing up. Even music and music style and visual things as well. That’s part of it. It’s in how we get the message out there and communicate by and large outside the walls of the church. Uh, it’s through the church being a group of people that’s not stuck inside the getting outside and serving people around in their community, impacting the community and making a difference, uh, which gives the church then a voice to others. It’s technology now we have a large on, on online campus, which every Sunday we have people all over the United States and in different parts of the world who tuned in and they say, this is my church and this is my church home.


And they’ll gather with groups of people and watch live online. And so there’s, there’s all, there’s so many different variables that come into this and you have to. A lot of people are kind of saying this new generation, the millennial generation, they can’t be reached. They can’t their check and uh, and that, that might be true for some, but we’re starting to see how we can relate to the, the millennial generation are coming along and they’re bringing. So you think about these, these, uh, for me, this younger generation that they’ve grown up knowing a what an iPhone is, grown up having all this technology available and all these and where I’m still trying to get used to it myself, but they come along and we put them into leadership roles in place and they begin to communicate and they begin to, I step up and allow the church to be a, to be that, uh, to grow into that generational where we’re communicating with that that generation, like never before. It’s a neat for me to see. I don’t know all the ins and outs now. Exactly. Brilliant to watch it happen. And so I’m all excited about the millennial generation and what they’re bringing to the church. So they’re, like I said, there really are so many different variables and we can talk about for hours, but yeah, you’re right, you’re right. There’s a lot that goes into that.


Victor Ahipene: Yeah, that’s cool. That’s awesome insight. Like I say, it’s, it’s, it’s, uh, it, just like any other business that’s looking to, to grow and flourish and have as big an impact as possible. There’s all these little things that go behind the scenes that seem to add up to one cumulative, the fate of a yeah, in their item picked so well. I’d just like to thank you so much for jumping on today and sharing some, some awesome insights. I’m sure speaking nation will join. I’d just like to welcome you to speak in Asian family. Awesome. Good. Again, if people want to track you down, it’s beauadams, B-E-A-U adams.com and we’ll link all of at publicspeakingblueprint.com and I look forward to keeping in touch and, uh, catching up and following your journey.


Beau Adams: Great. Thank you so much, victor. I really enjoy this. Great talk today.