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 my 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-Wharton ....

Who is Mary Tillson-Wharton?

As a driving force behind Speaker Excellence at the  Speaking Business Academy, my work is to empower speakers worldwide to create and deliver speeches and masterclasses that engage their audiences and deliver transformational results and ROI for their clients. My USP is the combination of my leadership development expertise, corporate background, unique experiences, and a results-oriented approach that I bring to the world of speaker coaching.

I have an extensive background in leadership development and am able to apply this deep well of knowledge to the art of public speaking. Here are a few ideas on specifically how I am qualified to help speakers:

  1. Dual Expertise in Leadership development and Speaking. My 20+ years of experience in leadership development are not commonly found in the speaking coach realm. This gives me a profound understanding of what drives an organization's success and how a speaker can tap into that to resonate with corporate audiences.
  2. Corporate Pedigree - Having worked with global blue-chip companies, I know the language and expectations of high-level corporate environments. This insight is invaluable for speakers aiming to engage with such audiences.
  3. Practical Experience – My extensive history of designing and delivering management and leadership programmes means I have practical, hands-on experience that goes beyond theory. I know what works in real-world scenarios. I help speakers deliver more than ”just the speech.”
  4. Private Investigation Insights - My somewhat unusual background as a former Private Investigator provides me with a unique perspective on human behaviour and observing audience reactions
  5. Behavioural Intelligence Specialisation- As a specialist in Verbal Behaviour Intelligence, I am able to offer a nuanced approach to speaker training that encompasses not just the content, but also the delivery and audience engagement based on psychological principles.
  6. Global Perspective - With a global clientele, I am able to bring a multicultural and diverse perspective to my coaching, preparing speakers to connect with international audiences.
  7. Results-Driven - Feedback from clients like Ricardo Cabete highlights the tangible outcomes of my coaching — not just improved speaking skills, but actual business growth and higher ROI from speaking engagements.
  8. Practical reusable tools and techniques- I have access to a range of highly practical tools and techniques, which enable a speaker to be relevant, memorable, easy to follow and become known. 4 recognised keys to success for any speaker wishing to grow their speaking business.
  9. Having fun! Learning should be fun, and I always look to combine hard work with some fun and laughter.

"A few hours with Mary and I got a world class keynote, satisfied customers, and more business. That´s what I call a High ROI!” Ricardo Cabete