grandpa - 11:28 am on Feb 21, 2010 (gmt 0)
I started by reading poetry at open mic events... worse, my own poetry. I observed how to engage the audience, and eventually how to control the audience. But all that came long after I quit trembling like a leaf whenever I took to the stage.
Probably the most important aspects... know my own material (quit reciting and start delivering), know my audience (different events required unique material), practice practice practice (deliver with confidence).