How to Read in Public, Part II
“the only thing I’d add to your list is ‘learn to properly adjust a mic stand,’” quoth @a_p_crowley and he’s right
4. Learn to properly adjust a mic stand
If you get up onstage and the first thing you do is adjust the mic stand, you will instantly gain cred and respect. Then adjust the mic itself, so that it is pointing directly at your lips, and is about a fist length (your fist length) away from your mouth. Then speak at a good volume. If you whisper, it will only amplify your whisper. This is Microphone 101, which I learned as a high school student, doing competitive singing competitions.
5. Don’t cry.
Under no circumstances should you cry while reading your piece. I’m sorry. I know your ex-boyfriend was really, really mean, and that’s why you wrote a poem about it, but you still don’t get to be Meryl Streep. On the other hand, if you can read something that is so true and heartbreaking and real that your audience starts to cry, then your work here is done. Amy Hempel, Stuart Dybek, and Sapphire have all made me weep like a baby.