Cold reading can be a nightmare for actors as there is no effective way that you can prepare for a cold read.
The typical scenario is, you turn up at the audition and you are given a scene to perform. You then have no more than a couple of minutes to get the gist of the scene and role and then you are in front of the camera. This is where focus becomes vitally important. Focus on the key points in the scene and play off those key points when performing. Hold the script up close to the left or right side of your face so that when looking at the lines and then back to the camera you can maintain the rhythm and pace of the scene. If you hold the scene down near your waist then the time it takes to glance at it is longer and the performance will be full of awkward pauses.
These are just a couple of handy tips for performing a cold read.
At the Screen Actors Workshop we run an intensive 6 hour Cold Reading Techniques masterclass with actor/tutor Salvatore Coco which will prepare you for these types of auditions. Knowledge is power. And power and confidence will help you to win those all important roles.