I’d read a book-report aloud to my classmates, and my legs would lock up, my eyes planted to the paper in my sweaty palms as I mumbled quickly through whatever I’d written.
I’ve assembled a few quick tips I’ve used in the past, which will surely help anybody with speaking aloud, poems in particular, at perhaps say, The Binghamton Poetry Project’s Final Reading Event on November 21st in Lecture Hall 10 at 6PM
1. Slow Down. If you’re like me, and get nerves when reading aloud, believe me. You’re speaking wayyyyyy faster than you think you are. Listeners will have a hard time understanding all of your poem, and will definitely not even be able to appreciate various highlights of your writing, which would definitely be a shame. Just relax your breathing, and you’re reading will relax with it. If you know what you have to read ahead of time, practice reading it with a timer, so you know what your pace exactly is.
2. Emphasize the important parts of your poem! Is there an alliteration somewhere in your writing that you really like? How about a particularly clever rhyme? Not only should you speak clearly, but you can verbally strengthen your work by simply placing inflection on the words you really want to stick with the audience. When reading aloud, try underlining or writing in bold any words you wish to emphasize. With this in mind, also remember to let the last line hit hard. When you reach the end of your poem, don’t immediately move away from the mic, or say “thank you” or anything. Remain silent. Let the audience sit quietly, if only for a moment to ponder what you just read.
3. Posture. This applies to any situation, but especially in public speaking. Straighten your back, shoulders up, don’t lean on one leg, and look up at the audience! Not only will you appear more confident to your audience, you’ll feel confident about it. You have something important to say! Show it with your posture.
Hopefully these help, and I hope to see you all put these tips to use at our Final Reading Event on November 21st in Lecture Hall 10, 6 PM!