While it might be a good idea to let people out of the lift before entering it, in negotiating it’s not such a good strategy to follow the “after you” mentality. Being the first one to say something might turn out to be beneficial in several ways.

Check out: In a Negotiation, Leaders Make the First Move







  • sink in – to enter or penetrate the mind
  • disavow – deny any responsibility or support for
  • on the table – subject to discussion by the group; submitted as a point of discussion
  • blot out – to forget someone or something by covering up memories or by trying to forget
  • wiggle room – flexibility, as of options or interpretation
  • gut-wrenching – causing mental or emotional anguish
  • jump the gun – to begin a race before the starting signal


Think about it

Answer the questions below.

  • What might be dangerous about saying “I’m considering…?”
  • In what way might phrases such as “I’m considering…” be beneficial in a negotiation?
  • What strategy will allow you to both make the first move and leave some wiggle room in a negotiation?
  • In what situation is it safe to make a concrete offer?


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word per blank space.

While the issue may not be ________ the table at that moment, those around you will know it is ________ of your negotiation playbook. It could come back as an issue ________ any time, and may be used against you. Remember, no matter how many “never minds” you say, once you say something, you can’t blot it ________ from memory of ________ other party.

Fill in the blank spaces with the correct forms of the words in CAPITAL LETTERS.

It takes a little bravado and ________ CONFIDENT to make the first move. Don’t get caught in ________ HESITATE or sidebar conversations while waiting for the right moment. The other party will make the first move, jump the gun, and ________ DEFINITION the parameters of the game.

Making the first move may be something you are not ________ COMFORT with, but rest ________ ASSURANCE that letting the other party go first enhances their control of the negotiations. Whether you decide to make the first move by making an offer, asking a question, or suggesting an idea, make it. Lead and take the initiative.


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