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That freelance negotiatory dance

ONE NUJ freelance tells of having an occasional gig doing one-hour onstage interviews with non-famous arty people - for £200 a go. The gig takes some preparation - but the client is nice and she enjoys it. In sum: " 'salright" .

Then the client pops up again - proposing a bigger name and a bigger do. The tickets will be much pricier. It'd be 90 minutes instead of 60.

This leaves her with the question of how to get past that "established rate" that's settled in the client's head. Why, ask for more! But how shall she put it...

She seeks colleagues' advice, saying that she reckons she'll ask for £350 but "that seems quite bold". These colleagues say: that's OK, but how do you know the client wouldn't pay more? And you can't go up if the client says quite readily "yes, of course". These colleagues suggest an old ploy: "How much are you offering?"

That is - the negotiatory freelance's sweetly fab open question...

So she does. "Well, you know, it's a bigger name, it's longer, um, so I think the fee should be higher... how much are you offering?"

The client says: "Absolutely. Would £500 be all right?" She says "Yes" - though she might have said "how about £600?" given the alacrity of the response but... mathematically speaking, no regrets, this is 150 per cent a happy ending!"