Fear Public Speaking? Join the USGBC-STL Speaker’s Bureau

The fear of public speaking ranks among Americans’ top fears, surpassing fear of illness, fear of flying, fear of terrorism and often the fear of death itself.

Jerry Seinfeld once joked about a survey that found that the fear of public speaking ranks higher in most people’s minds than the fear of death. “In other words,” he deadpanned, “at a funeral, the average person would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.” Can you relate? I can. Not that I would prefer to be the one in the casket, but I have definitely had my share of anxiety when it comes to public speaking. My profession requires making presentations to various groups. Whether it is to a selection committee to win project or to present information about a project that has been constructed, public speaking can play a major role in the duties of an architect, one that I feared for many years.

So, I decided to volunteer for the USGBC-STL Speakers Bureau and pushed myself to overcome this fear. As I reasoned, I was interested in promoting green building and in volunteering some additional time for the Chapter. As an architect and LEED AP, I have knowledge on the subject, the audiences should be noncontroversial and interested in the topic, and I would probably learn something in the process. Most of all, I thought, I just might overcome one of my biggest fears.

After a few years as a volunteer speaker, all of my initial reasoning has proved to be accurate. I have come to enjoy the presentations and actually find myself looking forward to the next. Even though I misspoke during a recent presentation, saying ‘LEED Green Fellow’ instead of ‘LEED Fellow’ and had a few jokes thrown at me afterward, I survived and even laughed at my own error. So, I may not give a perfect presentation and still experience some anxiety, but the overall experience has been a very positive one.

Therefore, if you are interested in promoting green building but fear public speaking, like the rest of us, there is likely an opportunity for you as part of the USGBC-STL Speaker’s Bureau!

For more information about the USGBC-STL Speakers Bureau, see http://www.usgbc-stl.org/speakers-bureau. To volunteer for the Speakers Bureau, contact Chapter staff at usgbc-stl@mobot.org.

– Submitted by Barbara Anderson, a member of the USGBC-STL Advocacy Committee, a member of the USGBC-STL Speakers Bureau and an an architect at Oates Associates.

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