What Should You Do at an Open Mic Poetry Event?

Venturing into the world of an open mic poetry night can be a daunting, yet rewarding experience. To make the most out of it, here’s a guide that offers some helpful tips and advice.


  • Take a poem or two with you. Make sure to also consider other people’s work that you admire, it can serve as a safety net if you are not ready to share your own work.
  • Consider timing and placement. Signing up somewhere in the middle of the performers’ list gives you time to observe other performers and lessen your nerves.
  • If you plan to bring printed versions of your poems, use a large font or a digital device to avoid reading difficulties in front of the audience.
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  • Communicate your feelings: If you’re nervous, it’s okay to say so. Open mic audiences tend to be empathetic towards first-timers. It could also help in creating a connection with your audience.
  • If you make a mistake in your performance, do not panic. It’s entirely okay to start over or refer back to your written poem.


  • At the end of your poem, give a closing note to signal your audience that you have finished and it’s time for them to applaud.
  • Remember the time limit. Avoid going over your allotted time slot to maintain respect for the event and other performers. If you run out of time, gracefully wrap up your performance instead of rushing to finish.
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Growth and Community

  • Regularly attending open mic nights leads to growth as a writer and performer. It may get easier over time and the feedback from diverse audiences can help you improve your work.
  • Besides improving your skills, open mic nights can also be game-changers for networking. They offer opportunities to connect with like-minded people, potential mentors, and even future collaborators.


Open mic poetry nights can be an intimidating but deeply meaningful journey. Having an open mindset, prepared material, respectful etiquette, and the willingness to learn from your experiences can significantly increase your growth as a poet. No matter how scary it may seem at first, always remember that every performer at an open mic was at some point, a first-timer too. Just breathe, be yourself, share your words, and enjoy the rhythm of the poetry community.

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