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Should your conference begin with a stand-up comic? Should you pay someone to warm up your audience? These were questions posed by the CA World conference organisers in Las Vegas last month. They went for the stand-up comedian. And they chose Jake Johannsen. The result? One of his hardest gigs as a comic speaker.

Comic speaker
Comic Speaker Jake Johannsen At CA World Conference, Las Vegas

Comedy can work as the first conference session of the day. Even at nine in the morning in Las Vegas. And you too can also get away with humour in your conference speech…but it takes a lot of work.

What doesn’t work is the mix of a comedian’s carefully prepared material and a conference organiser’s theme. In this case: cloud computing.

Comic Speaker Nerves

All of Jake’s early references to the cloud were inherently weak. His nervousness translated into choppy hand movements that became monotonous after a while. Now, whilst this was painful…if you are in Las Vegas, then a Mayor Goodman speech is certainly more of an ordeal.

Eventually he got into his own material on the economy, mortgages and the Bank bailout. And that worked. He is a funny man with his own material.

He managed the cut into a well-worked video production on cloud technology. Remarkably this was very similar to a Steve Ballmer speech at Washington University. This worked and really helped to set the scene and the tone for the event.

Comic Speaker Segues To Serious Speaker

Jake then moved into a classic introduction role when he introduced Dr Ajei Gopal, CA Technology’s Executive Vice President for Products and Technology. A perfect introduction for a speaker. In fact, a perfect introduction for a very accomplished speaker.

When you want to consider yourself as a comic speaker, then you can discover plenty of public speaking tips with our regular series of tips, podcasts and videos. And with more than 100 top tips for speakers and presenters to choose from, there’s something here for every occasion. Plus, when you want to boost your public speaking skills that bit further, then a public speaking course might just be the thing. Because a well-planned training session does wonders for skills and confidence. So, when the time is right, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


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About the Author

The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK.

  • Ha. That’s is the most jacked up post I’ve seen today. But, I’m not positive, myself.

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