The Negotiator Magazine

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What is my Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement? (BATNA)

This is a key concept. You do not want to accept an outcome that is worse that what you may have done otherwise.

Your BATNA is what you can or will do if an agreement cannot be reached.

What you can live with in Step 6 has to be better than your BATNA. Otherwise, why negotiate?

Ask yourself what they other side's BATNA may be. Why are they talking to you? What is preventing them from doing it with someone else, or on their own?

More on planning:

In the fall of 2004, Negotiator Magazine did a reader poll. One of the questions asked had to do with planning and it was reported that as much as 40% of the time spent negotiating is internal. Sometimes, the most difficult part of planning and negotiating can be with your own team.

If thought through in advance, you can compare where you are in the negotiation to your plan. You are also less likely to agree to an unacceptable outcome. If you find yourself getting lost in comparison to your plan, you can caucus, take a time out, and rethink where you are.

Tip #5: The Top 10 Factors for Successful Negotiating

A colleague, Tony Nagle of A.G. Nagle Company, Inc., shared this list with me:

  1. Know what you want: The clearer you are on your interests and goals, the better your chance of success.
  2. Know the other side: Learn as much as you can about the people with whom you will be negotiating. Know their negotiating style (DiSC©), their backgrounds, hopes, fears, aspirations, and their interests. Little things do not mean a lot, they can mean everything.
  3. Consider the timing and method of negotiations: Change the game to win-win problem solving by negotiating from interests, not positions.

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April 2005