The basic principles taught in a high school or college speech class apply also to performing poetry and writing for performance. The only difference between performing a
poem and giving a speech is that your poem might rhyme. Here are some standard things that one might have learned in speech class:
- Techniques for overcoming stage fright
- Know how good your memory is: What do you need to remember what you are performing? 3x 5 cards with brief notes? The whole thing written out? Nothing? The first three words written on your
sleeve? The song taped to your guitar?
- Practice your performance alone, in front of a mirror, with a tape recorder, and before a small, live audience. (Cats, although considered a live audience, seldom listen well. Try a dog, a friend, or a
- The four communication goals (See Appendix C.)
- The importance of interactivity
- Make or maintain eye contact.
- Will you need visual aids or props?
- Ways to achieve clarity, accuracy, and vividness through language.
- About the physical and vocal aspects of delivery
- Attention getters
If youve never taken a speech class, you might find that either taking one or at least getting and reading a public speaking text may improve your poetic performances. If its been a long time since
you had a speech class, you may want to consider a review. It might also behoove the aspiring performance poet, or even an old hand, to join a group like Toastmasters to help brush up on your general delivery