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Slow down.

Having young and inexperienced poets read their work can be very enlightening. But the enlightenment often comes in the form of human nature rather than what the poem has in it, because this editor seldom understands a word in the first reading. Why? Because the reader is trying to get through it quickly. Slow it down. That doesn’t mean that you read it so slowly that you see your audience’s beard grow visibly, but take the time it needs. Don’t rush. Let the audience have time to absorb, especially if all they have is your voice.

This is one of those Speech 101 elements to developing a successful stage presence. Make sure you practice. If the audience can’t understand a word you say because it is too fast and not clearly enunciated, they won’t be back.

See Also: Remember Speech 101?

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