Shortly after returning to Chicago earlier this month, I received two emails from the area coordinator of the Illinois Master Naturalist program. The first was an invitation for our Master Naturalist class from last year to reconvene later this month to celebrate our hours of service and catch up on what each of us are doing—this should be a really fun evening!
The second email was asking if I would like to do my first public speaking engagement as an Illinois Master Naturalist at one of the local public libraries – now, that should be a slightly terrifying evening! :-0
The date and presentation topic have been tentatively approved, so things are now moving on to the library publicizing the event to the general public, and me getting the actual presentation pulled together and rehearsed!
Back in my corporate working days, I was quite used to doing client presentations a dozen or so times per year, so public speaking is not entirely a foreign concept to me.
But it’s a totally new realm of knowledge wearing my brand spanking new naturalist cap! Visions race through my mind of some retired botanist in the back row peppering me with questions about obscure plants! And, the “umm, great question!” kind of lame, stupid responses I’ll likely be giving to every single question the audience asks me!
Yes, the palms are sweaty and this newbie is nervous! Any suggestions or tips from the pros out there?
My talk will be about “Exploring the Great Chicago Wilderness” – sort of a “staycationer’s” guide to finding great nature spots in the Chicagoland area.
It should be fun to research and photograph some of the nature preserves I’ve not yet been to, as well as revisit the old favorites too as Spring begins to bloom here in the coming weeks. If I end up making a total mess out of this presentation, at least I’ll enjoy the “boots on the ground” work of preparing it!