"He/She who speaks first loses” is an axiom of business negotiation. Don’t be the first one at the bargaining table to mention price because, this theory goes, the person who speaks first loses control of the conversation. “He who speaks first, loses” was cited in the book The Practice of Real Estate in California (1981).
However, some think that this is a myth and that a party can do best by “speaking first” and making the first offer.
The Practice of Real Estate in California
By Homer C. Davey and Donald C. Driscoll
Englewood, NJ: Prentice-Hall
At the conclusion of your presentation, distribute the contracts quietly, and sit and wait for an answer. Keep thinking to yourself, He who speaks first, loses. Don’t try to justify your client’s offer — you’ll only sound as if you are making an excuse.
12 August 1981, Seattle (WA) Times, “The Sporting Thing” by Georg N. Meyers, pg. E1, col. 2:
“I think Marvin Miller has to be the most patient negotiator in the country,” said Argyros. “He did a good job with the steelworkers—as you know, he represented them quite successfully before coming to baseball. He really believes firmly that he who speaks first loses, in negotiation.”
The Break Room:
A Story of Self-Reliance
BY Kyle Hannon
Elkhart, IN: Filibuster Press
When entering a negotiation or evaluating an offer, the one who speaks first loses.
5 Magic Paths to Making a Fortune in Real Estate
By James E. A. Lumley
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
He who leads with price, loses. An old axiom in negotiating is that he who speaks first, loses (said before, but we can’t say it enough). Here, it means specifically that if you make an offer first, you’re likely to end up losing more than you first offered.
Successful Sober House:
A Guide to Rescuing Alcoholics & Drug Addicts
By Alan Kosinski
Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse
Appendix IV - The ALANISMS (of Alan Kosinski)
He who speaks first - loses.
He who names a price first - loses.
He who mentions a number first - loses.
He who writes the paperwork - Wins.
He who cares least - Wins
Equal Pay negotiations LLC
April 19, 2011
Tactic: Silence is Golden When Negotiating
BY Katie Donovan
There is an old sale’s saw that says “She who speaks first, loses.” I just did a Google search on the masculine version of this saying “He who speaks first, loses” and got 11.4 million results. As I said, this is an old saw that is widely practiced and amazingly effective. This comes into play in every negotiation. You can think of this two ways. The first is you create power for yourself by embracing the uncomfortable silence. Conversely you can think that you minimize your negotiating power if you prevent the other person from responding to your offer or counteroffer. Either perspective works because the likelihood of receiving a concession increases greatly if the other person responds first.
March 10, 2012 ·
“He who speaks first, loses”, is a widely heard statement about negotiation that implies that it’s best to let the other person make the first offer. However, there is a plethora of empirical data to show that this is a myth. Most times, you’ll do better in a negotiation if you make the first offer. Why? Because, if you’re a savvy negotiator and have done your homework, you’ll set that offer high (or low, depending upon whether you’re the seller or the buyer). There are times, however, when you’ll want the other party to speak first.
The Chief No Officer:
Confessions of an Unconventional Entrepreneur
By Bendrix Bailey
What is meant by “he who speaks first loses,” is simply that the person who speaks first and closes the gap loses control of the conversation. If you break the silence you yourself have created, you are responding to the perceived anxiety of the person you questioned. But they have said nothing. The prospect has refused to answer your question. When you speak to fill the gap, you are attempting to relieve anxiety. You have lost control of the conversation. If you area salesman and lose control of the conversation, you are not controlling the prospect as you should; you’re not moving them toward a sale.
Top 10 Mistakes Business Owners Make When Selling Their Business
JUNE 3, 2014
10. Owners are the first to mention price. One cardinal rule of negotiating is never to be the first one at the table to mention price. The well-known adage “he who speaks first loses” is definitely true in the art of the deal.
5 tips for mastering the salary negotiation process
By The Muse July 20, 2015 10:41 am
“There’s an old adage in negotiation that goes something like this: He who speaks first loses.” – Anthony Gold