Rehearse in front of several friends before going 'live'. Have them give you feed back on:
clarity Could they hear and understand your words?
meaning Did they understand the images and feelings of the poem?
speaking rate Were you speaking too fast or too slowly?
voice Too loud, too soft, too high, too low...
Incorporate their feedback and present your poem.
Extra tips on reading poetry aloud
You do not need a 'dramatic' voice to be successful. An assumed voice will seem artificial and strained.
Remember to breathe. Holding your breath heightens tension, which in turn heightens the tone of your voice.
Use the natural pauses in the poem to take a breath, for example on a full stop or period.
If the occasion is emotional for example, the poem is part of eulogy, wedding or retirement speech, print it out in a large font so it is easily read. Marking the pauses, breath or stress points using a highlighter, will also help you remember what you rehearsed.
Stand tall and relaxed, just as you would for delivering a speech.
The ability to read poetry aloud is a gift of immense value to your audience because the right poem, read well, expresses with grace and clarity thoughts and feelings that are often difficult to find appropriate words for in ordinary prose.