Speaking Business is all about Speakers 

Our mission

To support established speakers who want to enter into new markets, develop new content, develop longer relationships with clients, move into executive learning/masterclasses;

To provide great content and learning for speakers starting out, experts in their areas that now want to move into the business of speaking and need guidance/assistance.

Background to Speaking Business Academy

We created Speaking Business Academy to give speakers the best possible support

There's a lot of training and support out there for speakers so why would we set up yet another training company?

Because it's not just another training company. My team and I have years of experience working internationally in the speaking industry; promoting and selling speakers for 4, 5 and 6 figure fees to corporates, governments, businesses and event professionals.  We have worked in and run multi-million dollar Speaker Bureaus.  We know what it takes for a speaker to be bookable, charge high fees  grow a profitable business from the ground up.  We've been there, done it, got the t-shirts and the war wounds.  

It started while we were running our Speaker Bureau, we offered support and training to the speakers we represented but were also approached by speakers who were not what I called 'Speaker Bureau Ready', rather than turning them away we created a free Facebook Group where we supported them.  We began offering group training and How to Guides.  Then Covid hit and our side training business turned into a full-time undertaking.  Since June 2020 Speaking Business Academy has worked closely with over 400 speakers providing a range of products, programmes, coaching and ancillary services all designed to help them grow their speaking business.

Who am I?

am Founder and Chief Enthusiast of Speaking Business Academy. 

An experienced speaker booker recognised as a speaking industry expert.  I support speakers (established and new) to enter into new markets, develop content, make strategic decisions about their speaking business, develop longer relationships with clients and maximise their income.    

I've held senior positions with 2 leading international speaker bureaus: CSA Celebrity Speakers and London Speaker Bureau.  In 2007 I founded her own multi-million pound bureau, imaginatively named Maria Franzoni Ltd (MFL).  I am a founding member and former co-chair of the European Association of Speaker Bureaus, former Director of Operations at We Do Things Differently cultural change consultancy and host of the Speaking Business Podcast. 

Prior to working with speakers I worked in retail management, management consultancy, educational travel and as an entrepreneur.  My experience in other industries has given me an excellent foundation and hands-on understanding of how to run and grow profitable businesses.  And most importantly what not to do. 

Meet my colleague and training partner - Mary Tillson ....

Who is Mary Tillson-Wharton?

Mary is Head of Speaker Coaching and Momentum, helping speakers develop their content and messaging, and maximise their personal impact and delivery style to ensure that they are at all times relevant, memorable and make it easy for their audience to be able to listen to and understand them. Three essentials to getting booked to speak again and again.  She co-facilitates many of our workshops with Maria and is lead tutor on content specific workshops.

Additionally, she supports speakers in delivering more than “just a speech” and build on the momentum achieved from their speeches. Many clients are now looking for a return on their investment from a speaker and want the learning from the speech embedded back within their business in some way to bring about the behavioural change they seek.

As a highly experienced Management and Leadership Development Principal Consultant with over 20 years demonstrated history of designing, developing, project leading, for both face to face and virtual delivery, a range of Management and Leadership programmes for global Blue-Chip companies that achieve ROI, Mary is well placed to help speakers.

She works closely with speakers helping them develop their material into interactive workshops or fully blended learning programmes.  She also coaches on how to facilitate in person and virtual workshops. Feedback is the key to improving, and Mary provides timely and focused gifts of feedback and additional coaching, as necessary. She is passionate about setting her clients up for success and makes sure her coaching is practical as well as fun.

Audrey Shaw

Having worked with Maria at MFL for over 12 years, Audrey Shaw is Head of Finances and has a great record of making sure everyone pays on time!  She assists with the smooth running of the Speaking Business including content and events.  Of course this is an ever-changing role, and this has also led to Audrey working as a virtual assistant to some speakers on personal projects including database, LinkedIn, contracting and invoicing, and research work.

Sian Jones

Sian Jones is Head of Getting things done.  Having worked with Maria for over 10 years, she has become Maria’s right hand woman and second brain.  Transitioning from MFL to the Speaking Business Academy, her role is constantly evolving.  From podcast editing, content creation, video editing, calendar management, event management is there nothing she can’t do?