When Victoria Brazil came to St. Emlyn’s: The Full Story


If you could pick just one speaker from SMACC Gold to give a bespoke, inspiring talk to you and your colleagues locally you probably couldn’t do it. Your mind would shut down – there were too many good speakers. Imagining, however, that it were possible to choose just one, there’s more than a very good chance that you’d choose Victoria Brazil.

There’s a very good reason why. Victoria’s track record speaks for itself. Her talks at SMACC 2013 were incredible…

… And then we were treated to even more at SMACC Gold.

If you haven’t already checked these out, you seriously have to.

At St. Emlyn’s we’re starting to build a bit of a niche for having bespoke local events featuring a world class speaker from the #FOAMed world. We were lucky enough to start with the godfather #FOAMed himself – Joe Lex (twice)…

Joe Lex at St. Emlyn’s number 1
Joe Lex at St. Emlyn’s number 2

… And, on Thursday 14th August, we were honoured to host a talk by the one and only Victoria Brazil at St. Emlyn’s.


What was the talk about?

The title of the talk was ‘Talking, Teaching and Technology‘.  Living up to her own tip for a good presentation, there were 3 key things that Victoria wanted to get across to us in her talk…

  Essentially, Victoria was starting with the bottom line.

So, Victoria’s message was that there are 3 key things you need to achieve in a good talk:

[DDET 1. Connect with your audience]

This starts well before the talk begins…

Think about who your audience is. Find out who will be there, what they do, what they want from the evening, how many will be there, and how will they be sitting. I can tell you that Victoria was in touch weeks in advance of this talk to find out as many details as possible about all of this. She knew exactly how many people would be there, what their likely backgrounds were, how they’d be sitting (including seeing pictures of the lecture theatre) and even what audiovisual equipment would be available to give the talk. It’s all in the preparation! As soon as the talk was underway there was also some interactivity. Victoria had us talking to the person next to us on several occasions, followed by question and answer sessions each time. Talking to the person next to you before asking questions allows you to think about the most relevant issues, and give you reassurance that your thoughts aren’t totally daft – so people feel less inhibited about asking questions. It really worked. [/DDET] [DDET 2. Look and sound great] Again, this starts before the talk begins. You don’t want the first impression the audience gets of you to be you looking down and getting to grips with the equipment or fiddling with USB sticks. This should be sorted out in advance. And when you arrive, make sure you make a good entrance – just like a Bond movie…

Remember that the actual verbal content of your talk accounts for a minority of your impact. The intonation of your voice is more important. Your body language is worth even more…

Remember to stand straight and pay attention to what you’re doing with your hands. Know your bad habits! When it comes to your voice, vary the pitch and pace according to the mood…

Victoria told us how she even went to a voice coach to help with this. If you really want to get to the heights that Victoria Brazil has achieved, you’re going to have to work hard at it!


[DDET 3. Keep it simple]

So often people over-complicate their talks. They want to give the audience something new. They’re worried that what they’re saying isn’t new enough to the audience. Actually, the most important thing is to keep your talk simple. Be ruthless. Take out your unnecessary slides. If they don’t contribute to the main message, they’re out. And keep your slides themselves simple too…


Of course, after all that it was time for some refreshment – and some terrific conversation with a fantastic bunch of people. We had people travel to Manchester from as far away as Coventry for this event. It was terrific to meet so many great people.


With infinite thanks to Victoria Brazil for inspiring us all!

Hope to see you at the next event,

Rick and the entire St. Emlyn’s team

Cite this article as: Rick Body, "When Victoria Brazil came to St. Emlyn’s: The Full Story," in St.Emlyn's, September 23, 2014, https://www.stemlynsblog.org/when-victoria-brazil-came-to-st-emlyns/.

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Thanks so much for following. Viva la #FOAMed

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