The most common question raised in my negotiation seminars is “When, if ever, should I make the first offer?” The second most common question is “How far should I move for my next concession?” This Golden Rule takes the guesswork out of when, where, and how to make offers and concessions. No one wants to leave valuable items on the table gratuitously. The best way to avoid this is to first design the right offer-concession strategy.

Doing this will require you to understand the psychological dynamics underlying concession behavior, as well as improve your ability to evaluate your counterpart’s “flinch” point. It’s not an exact science, but you can learn to draw out and recognize certain signals.

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