Plan in Advance:
Plan what you are going to read. Choose a set of poems. If youíre reading from a loose leaf manuscript, put the pages in order. If youíre reading from a bound book, mark the pages with post-it notes. You can add or eliminate a poemóbut have a general planned set of poems before you begin.

Know Your Material:
You will want to concentrate on your performance and to have eye contact with the audience. Practice reading your material, become comfortable with the cadence of each poem. Time yourself; make sure that you have your poems timed out so that you can conclude in the allotted time you are provided.

Warm Up:
Feeling nervous before a reading is natural. Reading your material (in your car or in a place off by yourself) will help soothe your nerves. You want to be relaxed during your reading.

Explore the Room:
Arrive early. Walk around; get a feel for the space.

Visualize yourself reading unhurried with your voice calm, loud, clear, and assured. Close your eyes for a moment, take a deep breath, and relax.

Lighting and Sound:
Sometimes lighting may wash out the printed page. You may need to turn at an angle to be able to read your material. You may wish to print out a copy of your material in a larger font size to help you see the print. Do not be afraid of the microphone. People, especially hard-of-hearing people, need for you to use it. We want you to use the microphone.

Suggested Doníts:
Donít call attention to the fact that you are nervous. Donít apologize for being a virgin reader. Donít promise to come back to read again unless you will. Donít eat a big meal or drink too much just before your turn.

Have water with you on stage. Being nervous may make your mouth/throat dry.

Before you begin your turn briefly say hello to the audience and thank them for being there. During the refreshment break walk up to people and get to know them. Find out what is going on locally ó this may help you decide which poems to select for future readings.

Mutual Respect:
Remember that you will usually only have five minutes for your turn. Poets and musicians who have not yet had their turn are depending on you to honor the five minute timeslot.