Batna (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement)

When you’re negotiating a contract, it’s common to focus almost exclusively on exactly what you want, especially when it comes to your key objectives in the contract. However, there’s value in entering those negotiations with a plan B, known as a BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement) for the things you want most — and to research what the other party’s alternatives might look like, too.

After all, negotiations aren’t always entirely successful, so understanding what you want, what you’d be willing to settle for, and what would lead you to walk away is valuable insight to have going in. For your key objectives, try to have at least two or three BATNAs ready in case your top one suggestions fall through, and, if you have an idea of what the other party’s BATNAs might be, use that to your advantage in finding common ground. You can learn more about using BATNAs in negotiations in this graphic below.

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