BATNA

In negotiation, BATNA refers to your “best alternative to a negotiated agreement,” or the best outcome you can expect if you fail to reach agreement at the bargaining table with your counterpart. An evaluation of your BATNA is critical if you are to establish the threshold at which you will reject an offer. Effective negotiators determine their BATNAs before talks begin.

When you fail to determine your alternative, you’re liable to make a costly mistake—rejecting a deal you should have accepted or accepting one you’d have been wise to reject. In negotiation, it’s important to have high aspirations and to fight hard for a good outcome. But it’s just as critical to establish a walkaway point that is firmly grounded in reality.

There are four steps to assessing your BATNA: List your alternatives; evaluate these alternatives; establish your BATNA based on these alternatives; and calculate your reservation value, which is the lowest-valued deal you are willing to accept. If the value of the deal proposed to you is lower than your reservation value, you’ll be better off rejecting the offer and pursuing your BATNA. If the final offer is higher than your reservation value, you should accept it.

One drawback to exploring your best alternative is in spending too much time and money in researching it. This can lead to a feeling of entitlement in negotiation, which may cause the negotiator to expect too much from the bargaining process.

Articles offer numerous BATNA examples and explore the concept of one’s BATNA, as well as how to effectively identify your BATNA in negotiations and how to use this knowledge effectively in any type of negotiation, whether in business, international, or personal negotiations.

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Taylor Swift: Negotiation Mastermind?

Katie Shonk   •  02/20/2024   •  Filed in BATNA

taylor swift batna

What should you do when a negotiation is crumbling? Some people redouble their efforts—conducting more research, holding longer meetings, and scraping together more financing. Others look around for a better deal away from that particular negotiating table—that is, they explore their best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA. As Matthew Belloni reports for Puck, … Read Taylor Swift: Negotiation Mastermind?

Power and Negotiation: Advice on First Offers

Katie Shonk   •  02/12/2024   •  Filed in BATNA

offer of employment

Should you make the first offer in negotiation? It’s a perennial question, one that has attracted considerable debate. In a recent study published in the Negotiation Journal, researchers Yossi Maaravi, Ben Heller, and Aharon Levy find that negotiators’ relative power affects their first offers. Here, we take a closer look at issues related to power … Read Power and Negotiation: Advice on First Offers

10 Hard-Bargaining Tactics to Watch Out for in a Negotiation

PON Staff   •  01/16/2024   •  Filed in BATNA

Hard-Bargaining Tactics

Some negotiators seem to believe that hard-bargaining tactics are the key to success. They resort to threats, extreme demands, and even unethical behavior to try to get the upper hand in a negotiation. In fact, negotiators who fall back on hard-bargaining strategies in negotiation are typically betraying a lack of understanding about the gains that … Learn More About This Program

BATNA Strategy: Should You Reveal Your BATNA?

PON Staff   •  01/11/2024   •  Filed in BATNA

batna strategy

In their best-selling book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton (Penguin, 1991) introduced the concept of having a BATNA strategy (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) as “the standard against which any proposed agreement should be measured.” When you know what you’ll do if you don’t reach … Read BATNA Strategy: Should You Reveal Your BATNA?

Take your BATNA to the Next Level

Katie Shonk   •  12/18/2023   •  Filed in BATNA

negotiation BATNA

If your current negotiation reaches an impasse, what’s your best outside option? Most seasoned negotiators understand the value of evaluating their BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement, a concept that Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton introduced in their seminal book, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Penguin, 1991, second … Read Take your BATNA to the Next Level

Managing Difficult Negotiators

Katie Shonk   •  12/05/2023   •  Filed in BATNA

difficult negotiators

In negotiation, we are often confronted with the task of dealing with difficult people—those who seem to prefer to set up roadblocks rather than break down walls, or who choose to take hardline stances rather than seeking common ground. If you’re skilled in BATNA negotiations, you’ll have an easier time dealing with such people. … Read Managing Difficult Negotiators

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