The 5 Step Process

to help you be more bookable and charge higher fees


This is one to one coaching focused on developing your Speaking Business.  The 5 Step Process will accelerate your progress whether you are just starting out or you are a seasoned professional wanting to increase your income.

The 5 Step Process in detail:


Step 1 – The Market

Step 1 is about you having a true understanding of the market in which you operate. I’m going to share my insights into the events industry and how you can operate successfully within it, how to stay up-to-date so you know what’s going on in the marketplace, even when you’re working mostly on your own.

I’ll be relating twenty plus years’ experience of what it takes to get bookings with corporates and who really makes the decisions that your business depends on. We’ll clear up some misconceptions about working with managers bureaus and agents.  We will look at peak and low season so that you can plan your activity and manage your diary accordingly, and look at the impact of lead-times so you can plan your business and managing your revenue over the course of a year.

Having booked speakers for thousands of events I can give you some fresh insights into what clients really look for, and why,  and take an in-depth look at the different roles that event organisers need speakers to fill at their events. Even highly experienced speakers have used this knowledge to clarify where they fit in from an event planners point of view. The event organisers they work love them because they can place them in exactly the right slot to do exactly what’s needed for their events. By the end of Step 1 you will have an understanding of the market that is impossible to have when you are only seeing it from a speakers’ perspective. One lone speaker can never get that much exposure to what organisers really need from  you – on top of that, organisers tell bureaus what they really think. Speakers often get the polite version – not the whole truth.

Step 2 – Positioning

So now you know more about the market, it’s time to see where you fit into it. This is what Step 2 is all about, getting your positioning right. When you nail your positioning, you can communicate your value in a way that makes you highly bookable.

During STEP 2 I’m going to challenge you to:

  • Define what type of speaker you are
  • Create a really strong niche for yourself (even if you think you already have one) and,
  • Position yourself as an expert who speaks – rather than just being ‘another speaker’.

There are too many speakers already. What clients and event organisers really need are more Experts Who Speak, and that make a lasting impact with their audiences.

We’re going to do a deep dive into the problems that you really solve for your audiences and how you can make that value highly visible to people who may consider booking you.

You are going to take a fresh look at your USP and see how even small changes to how you present it, can have a huge impact on your business. With real clarity about your own positioning you can tighten up your marketing, present your topics in a completely unique way and have videos that sell you before you even get in front of the client.

While we are on the subject of your positioning we will also take a look at your show reel, your speaker website, what works and what doesn’t, take a fresh look at your branding design and photography and ask if you need additional products and services as part of your portfolio.

Step 3 – Get Booked

Step 3 is all about getting booked. This really is the business end of your speaking business. We will look at the challenge of how to set your fees at the right level, setting your fees for speaking abroad and for virtual events, if and when you should negotiate, put your fees up or discount plus I’ll share views on the thorny issue of if you should ever speak for free.

We’ll talk about how to research your competition and how you can find paying events. I’ll share with you some of the most common mistakes I’ve seen speakers make when they take enquiries (and how to avoid them) and what you must include when you write a proposal – plus a strategy on how to structure your pricing inside your proposal to give you the best possible shot at winning the deal.

As you implement the steps you’re going to get busier, so you are going to need to know all about how clients and bureaus expect you to pencil and hold dates and how to manage that so you avoid expensive gaps in your diary and possible double bookings. Then finally what you need to know about contracts. All these elements are ones that Speakers often either avoid or mismanage and so lose valuable business as a result because they are so focused on their content they miss crucial elements of the business side. I want to be able to help you avoid some of those mistakes so you can close more deals and put more money in your bank account.

Step 4 – Deliver great value

In Step 4 we are going to discuss the gig itself. Over the years I realised that most speakers start here. But the speakers who have built the most successful and sustainable businesses start at the beginning. They do Steps 1, 2 and 3 of the 5 Step Process first.

Inside here I’m going to share some valuable tips on how you can make it super easy for the meeting planners so that your reputation in the industry grows and you have more opportunities to get booked by word-of-mouth.

You’ll get tips, tools and shortcuts on how to conduct great briefing calls that help you to deliver exactly what the client needs, to writing great intro’s and outro’s so that you get the best possible start when you step on stage, and to how to manage slides and handouts and materials in a way that works for you, the event organiser and for the audience.

Then onto the speech itself. Here I will hand you over to my training partner Mary Tillson-Wharton from Speaking Business Academy.  She will cover the anatomy of a great speech and take a look at how some already successful speakers have applied our in-house design process to their talks to make them more impactful than ever. Mary will work with you to apply the structure to your existing content so that you are ready to deliver an impactful session.  She can also help you develop content "beyond the speech" such as masterclasses, workshops and full training programmes.

Step 5 – Grow

So, you’ve done the talk -then what?  Now you need to grow your business. That’s what Step 5 in The 5 Step Process is all about. We are going to look at how to grow your business once you have all the fundamental building blocks in place. I’ll share the most effective follow-ups that we used at the bureau (and why they worked so well), plus some great ideas from other successful speakers that get them repeat bookings time after time. Tips in this section include how to get quality feedback, get great testimonials, generate case studies and how to generate referrals.

Another important part of your growth is going to be managing your relationships and following up effectively. To help you do that, I’ll be sharing tools, systems and processes used by other speakers who don’t let opportunities fall through the cracks.

Finally, we will go on to look at what it takes to get the best from working with speaker bureaus. You will discover what to expect when you work with bureaus, what they need from you, what you need to understand about commissions and how to manage them. These relationships can potentially take your business to new heights and give you access to markets and opportunities that are just not available to you without a bureau representing you.

So, that’s the overview, now it’s time to dive in and get started.

How does it work?

We start with a consultation as the number of sessions per step depends on where you are on your speaking journey.  Once we have established how many, the sessions are 90-120 minute sessions.  The sessions are virtual on Zoom and you are provided with a recording and notes/templates for each session.  You can go as fast or as slow as you like. Some speakers prefer to have a session every 2 weeks, others like to work solidly over several days with a session a day with time in between to take action.

Who is Mary?

Mary Tillson-Wharton is Head of Speaker Coaching and Momentum at Speaking Business Academy. In that role, she helps speakers develop their content and messaging as well as maximise their personal impact and delivery style. This means that as a speaker you remain relevant, memorable and make it easy for audiences to be able to listen to and understand you. Three essentials to getting booked to speak again and again.  Mary co-facilitates many of the Speaking Business Academy workshops with Maria and is the lead tutor on content-specific workshops. Additionally, she supports speakers in delivering more than “just a speech” so they can build on the momentum achieved from their speeches.

Find out More

Let’s talk about your Speaking Business and how the 5 Step Process can help you.