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The importance of a good bargaining position

Last week I wrote about parity. This week I break it down further because doing so reveals something
Standing oration
The importance of a good bargaining position
By Kristian from Speakers Loft • Issue #6 • View online
Last week I wrote about parity. This week I break it down further because doing so reveals something interesting.

Getting paid is fun. I’m not saying that being on a mission as a speaker isn’t inspiring and meaningful. I am saying that being paid is nice too. Following up on the issue last week (PARITY: The struggle is real (but it may be a question of confidence)) it would be interesting to see how parity is on various topics. We found one noticeable exception to the general tendency of men being paid more handsomely than women. In the fields of history, academia, and media, the rules seem not to apply.
I thought it strange at first, but maybe there is a good explanation.
'Society' encompasses speakers on Media, Academia and History.
'Society' encompasses speakers on Media, Academia and History.
But before getting into that: what does our parity scoreboard say, when we break it down by topic (these are US figures):
Personal development:
Women make 70% of what men make.
Women make 83% of what men make.
Women make 78% of what men make.
Society is an outlier
When we looked at society, however, fees varied wildly, indicating that making a deal in this field somehow was fundamentally different. Here is a theory about why.
The category contains speakers in politics, academia, and media. I’m sure some have good arguments why this grouping is complete buffoonery and unreasonable. But it is already done, and I have a cup of coffee with your name on it if you intent swinging by Copenhagen to discuss methodology.
Anyway, here are some hypothesizing: What presumably happens in this unholy stew called ‘society’ is that people are booked by clients who want a particular person, for a specific reason. The customer already decided. These speakers are not as interchangeable as motivational speakers may be. 
If you want Tony Blair to speak at your event, Steven Seagal will be a poor substitute (and I assume vice versa).
So, 'society’ seems to fall outside of the normal laws of pricing, because these people are famous, and getting gigs on account of being famous (or infamous, but you get the point).
Don’t become famous
Overall though, I’d not recommend becoming famous, to have a better bargaining position. Taken as a median, the speakers on 'Society’ were paid less than speakers on business, tech, or personal development. It seems a little strange, but it is, after all entirely possible, to have lower median fees and higher variance in a niche.
I expect that this would be due the relatively week value-statements of the niche:
Speakers on personal development we usually pay to make us feel better (that wasn’t supposed to sound dirty).
Speakers on business help us make more money.
Speakers on tech help us avoid disruption and become more efficient.
Speakers on society … well, those we want to see because we know them from TV. It may be more of an indulgence than an investment. Which brings us to the elephant in the room: how will this help us get paid speaking gigs.
Always make it an investment
The takeaway is to make sure customers always see your talk as an investment. They wear goggles of selfishness that only allow them to recognize you when you are relevant to them. It sounds a little derogatory, but consider that we all do. I only see supermarkets, when I need groceries, bars when I’m thirsty and ice cream when it is hot.
I didn’t make this up - it’s old school wisdom that has circulated the speaking circuit for years. My addition is merely in saying that the numbers seem to back it up, just like the analysis did when we looked at emotions and value (which we did in this little peacock of a post).
Selling as a speaker is arguably about other people's problem-solving.
Selling as a speaker is arguably about other people's problem-solving.
That’s all for now. I wish you tons of success and remember that you have tons of speaker colleagues right here.
See you with a new edition in two weeks (I’m going on vacation).
P.s. We wrote this post because Fred from Texas, sent us an email asking if we knew. It just so happened we did know a bit about it. Be like Fred and reach out if you have questions. You are not the only one pondering, and we may have the data to shed some lights on the matter. At any rate, thanks, Fred.
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Kristian from Speakers Loft

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