BATNA Examples: Negotiation Tactics for Creating Value in Business Negotiations

Use BATNA examples to estimate your counterpart’s, and your own, best alternatives to a negotiated agreement when developing negotiation strategies for use at the bargaining table

By on / Business Negotiations

BATNA examples, or estimations of your best alternative to a negotiated agreement as well as that of your negotiating counterpart, are essential to effective negotiation strategies. When preparing to negotiate, always take time to consider these important questions:


Discover step-by-step techniques for avoiding common business negotiation pitfalls when you download a copy of the FREE special report, Business Negotiation Strategies: How to Negotiate Better Business Deals, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

What’s my BATNA – my walkaway option if the deal fails? (See also: Dealmaking: Understanding Your BATNA in Your Current Negotiations)

What are my most important interests, in ranked order? (See also: BATNA Definition anKnow Your BATNA: The Power of Information in Negotiation)

What is the other side’s BATNA, and what are his interests? (See also: Negotiation Skills: Three Sources of Power at the Bargaining Table)

Careful analysis, estimation, and conversations with colleagues will help you answer the first two questions.

Next, contemplate the other side’s BATNA and interests as thoroughly as you did your own.


Discover step-by-step techniques for avoiding common business negotiation pitfalls when you download a copy of the FREE special report, Business Negotiation Strategies: How to Negotiate Better Business Deals, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

After all, you may not be able to propose a package that he’ll accept if you haven’t thought about his outside options, needs, and wants. In addition, be sure you have a mandate from your superiors to explore options for mutual gains.

Finally, after identifying your counterpart’s BATNA using a few BATNA examples from the information you have gathered during the negotiation process, get ready to propose tradeoffs that exceed the other side’s BATNA (if only slightly), meet his interests reasonably well, greatly exceed your own BATNA, and elegantly meet your interests.

By preparing to propose multiple packages at the same time (see also, the concept of multiple equivalent simultaneous offers, or MESO negotiation strategies), in the spirit of Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton’s cautioning people to “separate inventing from deciding” in Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, you can avoid having an early feeler misconstrued as a final offer.

Design each package to probe your estimates of the other side’s BATNA and interests. All this preparation makes it more likely that the parties will find items of differing value that can be traded to create value.

Related Business Negotiations Article: Integrative Negotiations and a Win-Win Solution – A Place in Business Negotiations?


Discover step-by-step techniques for avoiding common business negotiation pitfalls when you download a copy of the FREE special report, Business Negotiation Strategies: How to Negotiate Better Business Deals, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

Originally published in 2013.

One Response to “BATNA Examples: Negotiation Tactics for Creating Value in Business Negotiations”

  1. Danielle Angela Reyes /

    Creating value in business negotiations also requires establishing trust early on in the business relationship. Reply

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