Learn how to negotiate like a diplomat, think on your feet like an improv performer, and master job offer negotiation like a professional athlete when you download a copy of our FREE special report, Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.


best alternative to a negotiated agreement

What is your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement?

Your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA, describes a your best possible outcome if the current negotiations fail.

In negotiation, your best source of power is typically your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA. Having a strong outside alternative enables you to walk away from a deal that doesn’t meet your needs or that would compromise your vision or ethics.

According to basic negotiation theory, your BATNA should be the benchmark by which you can compare the offer at the bargaining table with the best you could get if you walked away. If negotiation would give you more, then that’s all upside. If not, there’s no reason to agree.

It’s a twist on the old “bird in the hand” adage. If you’ve already got a golden goose, your negotiating partner has to offer even better terms to get you to say yes. But if all you’re holding is a dead duck, you may have to take whatever your counterpart offers you.

Wise negotiators understand the value of thinking through their best alternative to a negotiated agreement prior to any significant negotiation. Analyzing what you will do if the current negotiation or conflict-resolution effort fails will help you determine how much you need the other party and may also motivate you to enhance your alternatives away from the table.

Yet negotiators often neglect an equally important step: analyzing the other party’s best alternative to a negotiated agreement. Although finding out what alternatives the other party has can take some detective work, it can be well worth the effort. If you find out that your counterpart has few options, that knowledge can empower you to stand by your demands.

Discover how to unleash your power at the bargaining table in this free special report, BATNA Basics: Boost Your Power at the Bargaining Table, from Harvard Law School.

The following items are tagged best alternative to a negotiated agreement:

A Negotiation Preparation Checklist

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Without a doubt, the biggest mistake that negotiators make—and one that many make routinely—is failing to thoroughly prepare. When you haven’t done the necessary analysis and research, you are highly likely to leave value on the table and even to be taken advantage of by your counterpart. A negotiation preparation checklist can help you avoid … Read A Negotiation Preparation Checklist

Teaching the Fundamentals: The Best Introductory Negotiation Role Play Simulations

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

Introductory negotiation courses are taught in law and business schools around the world, but are also increasingly taught to undergraduates and in all types of corporate settings. No matter the context, though, the basic elements of negotiation are roughly similar. Teaching interest-based negotiation, the Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA), the Best Alternative to a Negotiated … Read More

The Pitfalls of Negotiations Over Email

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Negotiation research suggests that email often poses more problems than solutions when it comes to relationships, information exchange, and outcomes in conflict resolution negotiation scenarios. First, establishing social rapport via email can be challenging. The lack of nonverbal cues and the dearth of social norms regarding its use can cause negotiators to be impolite and … Read The Pitfalls of Negotiations Over Email

Why Negotiations Fail

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

When we think of failed business negotiations, most of us picture negotiators walking away from the table in disappointment. But that’s only one type of disappointing negotiation. Failed business negotiations also include those that parties come to regret over time and those that fall apart during implementation. The following three types of negotiation failures are … Read Why Negotiations Fail

5 Types of Negotiation Skills

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Businesspeople who are looking for effective negotiation strategies often confront a dizzying array of advice. It can be useful to take a step back and categorize these strategies into various types of negotiation tactics. Highlighting the benefits of negotiation in business, the following five types of negotiation tactics can help you think more broadly about … Read 5 Types of Negotiation Skills

Price Anchoring 101

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Opening offers have a strong effect in price negotiations. The first offer typically serves as an anchor that strongly influences the discussion that follows. In research documenting price anchoring, psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky found that even random numbers can have a dramatic impact on people’s subsequent judgments and decisions. … Read Price Anchoring 101

Principled Negotiation: Focus on Interests to Create Value

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Inexperienced negotiators and even many experienced negotiators tend to assume they have a choice between two main strategies: negotiate in a tough, demanding manner or in a friendly, accommodating manner. In fact, there’s a better, third way of negotiating—one that doesn’t rely on toughness or accommodation, but that will improve your likelihood of meeting your … Read More

What is Negotiation?

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Many people dread negotiation, not recognizing that they negotiate on a regular, even daily basis. Most of us face formal negotiations throughout our personal and professional lives: discussing the terms of a job offer with a recruiter, haggling over the price of a new car, hammering out a contract with a supplier. … Read What is Negotiation?

How to Find the ZOPA in Business Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In business negotiation, two polar-opposite errors are common: reaching agreement when it wouldn’t be wise to do so, and walking away from a mutually beneficial outcome. How can you avoid these pitfalls? Through careful preparation that includes an analysis of the zone of possible agreement, or ZOPA in business negotiations. … Read How to Find the ZOPA in Business Negotiations

BATNA and Other Sources of Power at the Negotiation Table

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

BATNA negotiations involve a negotiators knowledge of her best alternatives to a negotiated agreement and are one of three sources of negotiating power at the bargaining table, according to negotiation researcher Adam D. Galinsky and New York University’s Joe C. Magee. … Read More

Power in Negotiation: The Impact on Negotiators and the Negotiation Process

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

According to Dacher Keltner of the University of California at Berkeley and his colleagues, power in negotiation affects two primary neurological regulators of behavior: the behavioral approach system and the behavioral inhibition system. Powerful negotiators demonstrate “approach related” behaviors such as expressing positive moods and searching for rewards in their environment. … Read More

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

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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 … Read More

What is Distributive Negotiation and Five Proven Strategies

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Most negotiations call for very different, even opposing, skills: collaboration and competition. To get a great deal, we typically must work with others to find new sources of value while also competing with them to claim as much of that value for ourselves. Before mastering the intricacies of value creation in negotiation, it helps to … Read More

Take your BATNA to the Next Level

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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

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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

Star Wars Stories: George Lucas and a Strong BATNA, Passed Over

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

In negotiation, your best source of power is typically your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA. When you are aware that you have an appealing alternative deal to the one you’re working on, you will be less tempted to accept an agreement that doesn’t meet your minimum requirements. A strong BATNA gives you … Read More

How to Deal with a Hardball Strategy When You Have a Weak BATNA

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In negotiation, visions of collaborating to create new sources of value can quickly evaporate when the other party engages in a hardball strategy—such as penalizing us financially, attacking our reputation, walking away, or threatening to do all of the above. Suddenly we find ourselves on the defensive, scrambling to do more than just break even. … Read More

For Business Negotiators, Patience Can be a Virtue

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Business negotiators know that persistence and tenacity can make all the difference between impasse and a game-changing breakthrough. Take the saga behind Microsoft’s 2013 announcement of its pending $7.2 billion acquisition of Finnish mobile phone company Nokia’s handset and services business. The two parties engaged in many months of fruitless talks before either side believed … Read More

6 Bargaining Tips and BATNA Essentials

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

The best bargaining tips taught by the experts should offer ways to enhance your bargaining power in negotiation. To do this, you must cultivate a strong BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement. The more appealing your best alternative is, the more comfortable you will feel asking for more in your current negotiation—secure in … Read 6 Bargaining Tips and BATNA Essentials

How to Control Your Emotions in Conflict Resolution

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

To guard against acting irrationally or in ways that can harm you, authors of Beyond Reason: Using Emotions As You Negotiate Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro advise you to take your emotional temperature during a negotiation. Specifically, try to gauge whether your emotions are manageable, starting to heat up, or threatening to boil over. … Read More

5 Common Negotiation Mistakes and How You Can Avoid Them

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Sometimes our negotiation mistakes are glaring: We accidentally reveal our bottom line, criticize the other party when patience was warranted, or get our numbers mixed up. More often, though, our negotiation mistakes are invisible: We get a perfectly good deal but are unaware that we could have gotten a better one if we hadn’t succumbed … Read More

When Armed with Power in Negotiation, Use It Wisely

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

The buzz of excitement that arose in February 2015 at the news that Harper Lee, author of the beloved novel To Kill a Mockingbird, would be publishing a second novel quickly turned to concern. The 88-year-old Lee, who suffered a stroke in 2007 and resided in an assisted-living facility in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, … Read More

Negotiation Mistakes: When Fear of Impasse Leads to Bad Deals

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

Experienced negotiators understand that they should reject any deal on the table that is inferior to their best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA. At an auto dealership, for example, you shouldn’t buy a used car if you are pretty sure you can get a better deal on a comparable car elsewhere. Yet in … Read More

How Timing Can Influence the Anchoring Effect

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Back on July 11, 2000, we were offered an excellent case study on the anchoring effect when U.S. president Bill Clinton welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to a summit at Camp David aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all. The summit covered various contentious issues, … Read How Timing Can Influence the Anchoring Effect

Negotiation in Business: Ethics, Bias, and Bargaining in Good Faith

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

As we’ve discussed in previous articles about negotiation examples in business, a negotiator’s beliefs concerning negotiation ethics are affected by cognitive biases. You probably can recall times when a negotiating opponent made what appeared to be a blatant misstatement. If you’re like most people, you assumed the person was lying to gain an advantage. … Read More

Power in Negotiations: How to Maximize a Weak BATNA

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

In business negotiations, we tend to assume that it’s the more financially successful party that has an edge. But if that party has a weak BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement, it could be the seemingly weaker party that comes out on top. … Read More

Negotiation in Business Without a BATNA – Is It Possible?

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In a negotiation scenario, you always have a best alternative to a negotiated agreement. Negotiation research and negotiation strategy helps negotiators find their BATNA, leverage it at the bargaining table, and illustrates the impact that knowing your BATNA has on a negotiation. … Read More

Dealing with Difficult People? Negotiation Lessons from Ronald Reagan

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

In recent months, U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders have struggled to find a winning strategy to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to back away from his aggressions toward Ukraine. In a Wall Street Journal editorial, Ken Adelman, U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations and arms-control director, writes that recently … Read More

“No One is Really in Charge” Hostage Taking and the Risks of No-Negotiation Policies

Posted by & filed under Crisis Negotiations.

In the business world, we sometimes are tempted to avoid negotiating with people or groups we view to be immoral, untrustworthy, or simply unlikable. Imagine a counterpart who works in a business that you believe to be immoral, someone who has a reputation for gossiping about colleagues, or a longtime client who routinely falls back on hardball … Read More

VIDEO: William Ury on “Getting to Yes with Yourself”

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills, Videos.

At the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, William Ury, a founding member of the Program on Negotiation and co-author of the seminal book Getting to Yes, spoke about his latest book, Getting to Yes with Yourself (and Other Worthy Opponents). Over 250 community members, students, and faculty members filled Austin Hall to hear Ury … Read More

BATNA Strategy: Negotiating When Negotiation Is Not the Norm

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

Many U.S. law schools are in crisis, to hear some tell it. During the recent recession, many law firms instituted mass layoffs and pay cuts, and few have fully recovered. As a result, college graduates are thinking twice about becoming lawyers, and many law schools have fewer high-quality applicants to choose from. In the past … Read More

Dealing with Difficult People – Even When You Don’t Want To

Posted by & filed under Dealing with Difficult People.

In your negotiations, have you ever faced a truly difficult negotiator—someone whose behavior seems designed to provoke, thwart, and annoy you beyond all measure? We often have strong incentives to negotiate with those we find obstinate, unpredictable, abrasive, or untrustworthy. When we avoid dealing with difficult people, we risk missing out on important opportunities. But … Read More

Negotiation Research: When Many BATNAs Are Worse Than One

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

Negotiators are often taught that the more alternatives they have, the more fortunate they are. If it’s good to have one strong best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA, then it’s better to have many BATNAs, right? Not necessarily, results from a study by Michael Schaerer of INSEAD and his colleagues show. In a series … Read More

Teaching Critical Leadership Skills

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

Running a multinational corporation, starting a small business, or leading a diplomatic mission all require critical leadership skills. Being an effective leader necessitates negotiating both within your organization and with external partners. In Real Leaders Negotiate, author Jeswald Salacuse explains that leaders can increase their effectiveness by using negotiation in each of the three phases … Read Teaching Critical Leadership Skills

BATNA Analysis Can Help You Avoid the Agreement Trap

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In both our personal and our business negotiations, “getting to yes” is typically the ultimate goal. Negotiation research and advice tend to focus on identifying the conditions that can help people overcome their differences, relax firm positions, and reach harmonious terms that could lead to a mutually fulfilling long-term relationship. This mindset risks downplaying the fact … Read More

Moving Toward Group Conflict Resolution

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Over the years, what many believe to be Jesus’s tomb in Jerusalem’s Old City has been the site of tensions that have at times escalated into violence. Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Roman Catholic communities guard the shrine surrounding the tomb, which they consider the holiest site in … Read Moving Toward Group Conflict Resolution

Adapting the BATNA for International Cultural Differences

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

The BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) concept, popularized by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton in their book Getting to Yes (Penguin Books, third edition, 2011), has been disseminated all over the world and doubtless helped thousands avoid settling for less than what they want in negotiations. When you have identified your … Read More

Ask A Negotiation Expert: Making Our Good Negotiation Skills Even Better

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

We recently spoke to Harvard Business School professor Michael Wheeler about the challenges and opportunities of learning good negotiation skills from our real life bargaining situations. Wheeler is the author of The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World (Simon & Schuster, 2013) and the “Negotiation 360” preparation app, which is … Read More

Using Effective Group Leadership to Bring a Multiparty Agreement Back from the Brink

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In December 2015 in Paris, delegates from 195 nations celebrated the results of effective group leadership when they reached agreement on a landmark global climate accord. But a year and a half later, the future of the accord sank into doubt when American president Donald Trump revealed he was withdrawing the United States from the … Read More

Leveraging BATNA at the Dinner Table: Negotiate Your Way to Holiday Cheer

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so they say. As we look ahead to winter vacation and seemingly endless days of family celebrations, many feel a sense of dread, anticipating tensions and conflict as drearily predictable as overcooked turkey and practical gifts. Even those who look forward to family get-togethers often end … Read More

BATNA and Risky Negotiation Tactics

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

Your BATNA is your “best alternative to a negotiated agreement.” Expect that your negotiating counterpart has one going into a negotiation, and so should you. Below is a good BATNA negotiation example involving how to leverage your away-from-the-bargaining-table options and the risks inherent with such a negotiation strategy. … Read BATNA and Risky Negotiation Tactics

Understanding Your Counterpart’s BATNA

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

One of the most popular questions concerning negotiation strategy and an area of negotiation research that draws heavily on negotiation examples in real life is how do negotiators identify their BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement, and even better, how do they identify their counterpart’s BATNA? Consider the saga of a company that … Read Understanding Your Counterpart’s BATNA

Negotiation and Bargaining with Your BATNA in Mind

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

Experienced negotiators understand they should reject any deal that is inferior to their best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA. What is a BATNA in negotiation? Your BATNA is the best possible outcome you could get if you walked away from your current negotiation and bargaining situation. When negotiating at an auto dealership, for … Read More

What is BATNA?

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

What is BATNA? Negotiations in which each counterpart has a best alternative to a negotiated agreement are scenarios in which the incentive to work together must exceed the value of alternatives away from the negotiation table. … Read What is BATNA?

In Group Negotiation, Avoid a Turf Battle

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In group negotiation, turf battles—heated conflicts over territory, control, rights, or power—are common. Department heads clash over scarce resources. Companies, community groups, and governments get tied up in lawsuits over undeveloped land. Across the globe, fishing groups have depleted fish stocks in their rush to catch the biggest share for themselves. … Read In Group Negotiation, Avoid a Turf Battle

Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement: Beyond the Basics

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

What is your greatest source of power in negotiation? In their landmark negotiation book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Penguin, 1991), Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton write that it is often a strong BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement. Before and during their negotiations, wise negotiators determine their … Read More

Best-In-Class Negotiation Case Studies

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

What’s one of the best ways to teach the art and science of negotiation? Case studies and articles that spark lively discussion or facilitate self-reflection. Based on real-world examples, these teaching resources are designed to help students envision how to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom and beyond. The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) at … Read Best-In-Class Negotiation Case Studies

Role Play Simulations to Help You Become a Better Mediator

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

When opposing parties cannot come to a satisfactory resolution, a strong mediator can make all the difference. By effectively examining the issues at hand and helping parties identify creative solutions, a well-trained mediator builds consensus where there once was none. To help professionals learn the art of mediation, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center … Read More

What an Operatic Role-Play Simulation Can Teach You About Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

A distinguished older soprano, Sally has not had a lead role in two years. However, when another soprano falls ill, the Lyric Opera is eager to hire Sally…but at what price? Sally Soprano is one of the best-known role-play simulations from the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC). And it’s a classic for good … Read More

Conflict Resolution Scenarios: Negotiating Values

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

The most heated types of conflict in organizations and in our personal lives often concern our core values, such as our personal moral standards, our religious and political beliefs, and our family’s welfare. Such values conflicts can escalate and intervening quickly in cases of conflict is essential. The following three conflict resolution scenarios can help … Read Conflict Resolution Scenarios: Negotiating Values

Bargaining at a Fever Pitch

Posted by & filed under Leadership Skills.

Have you ever won an auction only to realize later that you overbid for the prize? In competitive bidding situations, it’s easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment and overpay. The Boston Red Sox 2006 procurement of Japanese pitching phenomenon Daisuke “Dice-K” Matsuzaka offers a lesson in keeping cool in these … Read Bargaining at a Fever Pitch

Crossed Wires? Negotiation Games To Help Your Business Deal Sidestep Legal, Technical And Emotional Glitches

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

What’s faster than the pace of technological development? The pace of lawsuits being filed about the adoption of new technologies, patent infringement, and intellectual property rights. In our modern world, professionals must be able to resolve highly challenging technology-related disputes – often before they reach the courtroom. That’s where the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching … Read More

Gender Discrimination: How to Reach a Negotiated Agreement

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

As you know, gender stereotypes often enter the negotiation process. Women and men are perceived to, and often do, act differently in negotiations. Furthermore, gender-based discrimination—such as less pay, unequal treatment, and sexual harassment—is often a source of conflict. With the resources available through the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC), professionals can learn how to … Read More

What is the Anchoring Bias?

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

It may be the most burning question in business negotiation: Should you make the first offer? Traditionally, negotiators were advised to wait for the other side to make a first offer. According to this reasoning, the other side’s offer gives you valuable information about his goals and alternatives. More recently, however, research on the anchoring bias has … Read What is the Anchoring Bias?

Bullard Houses Role-Play Simulation Helps Researchers Explore Gender Inequality

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

In a recent Slate.com article, writer and PhD in Psychology Jane Hu described the findings of a research study by Professor Laura J. Kray, University of California, Berkeley. Kray, along with co-authors Jessica Kennedy, PhD, and Alex Van Zant, PhD, investigated the role gender played in negotiation and focused specifically on whether the stereotype of women … Read More

MESO Negotiation: Learn from a Seller’s Market

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

What negotiating skills can negotiators take away from hyper competitive bargaining situations? With home sales heating up (again) in some parts of the United States, homebuyers are facing competition they haven’t seen since before the real-estate bubble burst back in 2008, and it’s showing up in the form of packed open houses, multiple bids above … Read MESO Negotiation: Learn from a Seller’s Market

Video: Setting the Stage for Productive Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Daily, Resources, Videos.

Understanding how to arrange the meeting space is a key aspect of preparing for productive negotiations. In this video, Guhan Subramanian, professor at Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, discusses a real world example of how seating arrangements can influence a negotiator’s success. The discussion was held in his negotiation training workshop “Setting the … Read More

Exercising Your BATNA: When American Apparel Ousted Dov Charney

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On June 18, 2015 the board of retailer American Apparel informed the company’s controversial founder, Dov Charney, that it was ousting him from his roles as chairman and CEO. For years, Charney had fended off sexual-harrassment lawsuits and rumors of inappropriate behavior. But only when the company’s creditors grew anxious about its long-term liability did … Read More

BATNA: Negotiation Preparation to Help Avoid Giving Up at the Bargaining Table

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

When you expect an opponent to be competitive, your confidence in the outcomes you can achieve in negotiation is likely to plummet. In negotiation research with Adam Galinsky of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, negotiators were provided with some background about their counterpart including information on how competitive their counterpart has been in previous negotiations. … Read More

Top International Multiparty Negotiations: Dissent in the European Union

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

A European Union summit held in late October 2013 failed to make headway toward more coordination of economic policies. Facing resistance from Germany in particular, European officials grew pessimistic regarding their odds of negotiating a deal over the next year to lay the foundation for a banking union for the 17 nations that use the … Read More

In Platform Negotiations with Clinton, Sanders Was Victorious

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

With the 2016 Democratic National Convention now over, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders used the Hillary Clinton campaign’s fear of a divisive spectacle in Philadelphia to extract concessions on the party’s official platform and committee assignments. The senator’s tough dealmaking suggests an important negotiation lesson: Always know your BATNA and ZOPA in any negotiation. … Read More

Creating and Claiming Value Through Haggling – Assess The Other Party’s BATNA in Dealmaking Negotiations

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Now it’s time to assess the best deal you might get. Figuring out the other party’s reservation price is the key to knowing how far you will be able to push him, write Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman in their book Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining … Read More

Manage Your Power at the Bargaining Table

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Avoid the common traps that come with having high power or low power. In early August, employees of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), New York University (NYU), and Yale University sued their employers for allowing investment companies to charge excessive fees on their retirement plans, the New York Times reports. The universities were accused of … Read Manage Your Power at the Bargaining Table

With Patient Approach, FBI Steered Oregon Occupiers Toward Their BATNA

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

The 41-day armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon ended on February 11 when the last occupiers surrendered. Federal authorities in six states also arrested seven others accused of being involved in the occupation, according to the Associated Press. The standoff had begun when Ammon Bundy and his followers took over the … Read More

In Negotiations with Ben Affleck, No Appealing BATNA

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

In negotiation, your best source of power is typically your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA. Having a strong outside alternative enables you to walk away from a deal that doesn’t meet your needs or that would compromise your vision or ethics. But when you are dealing with a negotiating partner who seems irreplaceable, … Read More

Win-Win Negotiation with Bethenny Frankel

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In this negotiation scenario straight from reality television, Lu Ann de Lesseps, Ramona Singer, and Sonja Morgan test their negotiating prowess against reality tv network Bravo in their contract renewal renegotiations. Skinnygirl mogul and financial whiz kid, Bethenny Frankel, offers a template for bargaining for success on reality tv and beyond. … Read Win-Win Negotiation with Bethenny Frankel

Deal Negotiation and Dealmaking: What to Do On Your Own

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Six negotiation skills tips for negotiators seeking to creative value during their next round at the bargaining table. Business negotiators are often faced with the complex task of coordinating multiple parties – here are some tips for the individual business negotiator on how to achieve success in her next deal negotiation. … Read More

For Bank of America, Dealmaking to Turn the Page

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Negotiation often marks a new beginning: of a partnership, a project, or employment relationship. At other times, the goal of dealmaking is as much about reaching an ending as it is about moving forward. That’s the attitude with which Bank of America wrapped up its settlement negotiations with the Department of Justice (DOJ) last month. For … Read For Bank of America, Dealmaking to Turn the Page

Searching for a Debt Ceiling: Boehner’s Uncertain BATNA

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

As the U.S. government approaches a potentially catastrophic default on its debt in October, President Obama remains determined to avoid negotiations with Republican leaders on the issue, the New York Times reports, a situation that leaves House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner with an uncertain BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement. … Read More

Bring Your Deal Back from the Brink: Probe the Other Side’s Point of View

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

How can you figure out the motives behind someone’s seemingly stubborn position? Begin by questioning her about the problem she is trying to solve. Deal blockers may be held back by financial, legal, personal, or other constraints you don’t know about, according to Harvard Business School professor Deepak Malhotra. A tough stance could also communicate … Read More

Crisis Negotiations – Rolling the Dice in Court

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Going to trial, it’s said, is like rolling the dice. That proved true when an exasperated federal judge, the Honorable Gregory A. Presnell, ordered litigants to play a game of Rock Paper Scissors if they could not privately resolve their differences over a procedural issue. The lawyers were stalemated on where to depose a witness … Read Crisis Negotiations – Rolling the Dice in Court

Winning at “Win-Win”

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Lawrence Susskind (Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) “Win-win” has become a popular term in the field of negotiation, but many people have mis-perceptions about what it actually means. In this blog post, Professor Lawrence Susskind, a member of PON’s Executive Committee, clarifies that a “win-win” negotiated outcome is … Read Winning at “Win-Win”

Get Ready for Team Talks

Posted by & filed under Daily, Mediation.

Adapted from “Strength in Numbers: Negotiating as a Team,” by Elizabeth A. Mannix (professor, Cornell University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, May 2005. The widespread belief in “strength in numbers” suggests that having more players on your team should be a benefit, not a burden. But this belief can lead team members to underprepare … Read Get Ready for Team Talks

Find Strength in Numbers

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “Make Your Weak Position Strong,” by Deepak Malhotra (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. A common complaint among managers and executives who attend negotiation courses and seminars is that they don’t learn enough about negotiating from a position of weakness. What can you do when you have a weak BATNA, … Read Find Strength in Numbers

Keeping Your Options Alive

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “Better or Best: Keeping Your Options Open,” by Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Jim, a well-regarded residential developer operating outside Philadelphia, has been scouting around for a site for his next project. Two properties seem promising. The Abbott estate consists of 75 acres of woodlands and some … Read Keeping Your Options Alive

When Does Personality Matter?

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “When Tough Talk Is Beside the Point,” by Hal Movius (instructor, The Program on Technology Negotiation, Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Most of us intuitively believe that personality traits such as toughness matter a great deal in negotiation. Yet studies by Bruce Barry and Raymond Friedman of … Read When Does Personality Matter?

Questioning threats

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “How to Defuse Threats at the Bargaining Table,” by Katie A. Liljenquist (professor, Brigham Young University) and Adam D. Galinsky (professor, Northwestern University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Sooner or later, every negotiator faces threats at the bargaining table. How should you respond when the other side threatens to walk away, file a … Read Questioning threats

When “fairness” is a distraction

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “Accept or Reject?” by Deepak Malhotra (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

Negotiators usually have strong feelings about fairness. Unfortunately, our fairness perceptions tend to be biased in a self-serving manner. Research has shown that, at the end of a negotiation, most people feel they were more cooperative … Read When “fairness” is a distraction

Gain greater leverage with sole suppliers

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations, Daily.

Adapted from “Negotiating with Sole Suppliers,” by David Lax (managing principal, Lax Sebenius LLC), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Negotiators often wonder how to do business with sole suppliers who know they don’t have any real outside alternative and who take advantage of this. Without the power of a realistic best alternative to a negotiated … Read Gain greater leverage with sole suppliers

Powerful Thoughts

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

For many people, thinking about the role of power in negotiation can be paralyzing. In fact, the same people who are anxious about negotiating in general tend to be anxious about exerting their power during negotiation. Why? Perhaps because most of us realize that power, even when not explicitly discussed, is often the precipitating and … Read Powerful Thoughts

Too much commitment?

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “Are You Overly Committed to the Deal?” First published in the Negotiation newsletter. A telecommuter hires a carpenter to build a workstation for her home office. The carpenter’s contract requires payment of 50% upon signing, an additional 30% halfway through the job, and the final 20% upon completion. When the job is done, … Read Too much commitment?

“Are We Exclusive?”

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Ron McAfee, a carpenter and roofing expert, spent considerable time working with a condominium association on the design of a new roof deck. After gaining agreement on the proposed layout, design, and materials, McAfee submitted a written bid of $12,500. One of the board members subsequently showed McAfee’s plans to another roofer, who offered to … Read “Are We Exclusive?”

Are you afraid of commitment?

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “Overcoming Stage Fright: How to Prepare for a Negotiation,” by Michael Wheeler (Professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

Many negotiators grow anxious as they approach the bargaining table, a reaction that puts them in good company with other distinguished professionals. Laurence Olivier’s stage fright almost ended his acting … Read Are you afraid of commitment?

Negotiating When Business and Family Collide

Posted by & filed under Daily, Mediation.

Basic negotiation skills may seem easy to apply in business situations but what about when business and family collide? For example, a 69-year-old CEO of a large financial firm that has been in his family for three generations is considering retirement. He has three children who may be interested in taking over the business in addition … Read Negotiating When Business and Family Collide