Developing Your Negotiating Power

Your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) is your source of power during a negotiation. Your BATNA gives you leverage to walk away if the other side doesn’t give you a better deal than your best alternative. For additional information see Chapter 5, “Develop Your Relationships and Your Power,” in Negotiating for Success:

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To develop your power, answer the following questions:

  1. What is my BATNA? (This should be the first question you ask yourself when preparing for negotiations. If your BATNA is better than what the other side can offer, walk away from the negotiation.)

  2. Should I disclose my BATNA to the other side during negotiations? (As a general rule, you will want to disclose a strong BATNA because that signals your strength and you will want to hide a weak BATNA.)

  3. If I have a weak BATNA, should I lie about my alternatives? (Lying is never recommended, and in this situation it is especially dangerous because courts have held that lying about BATNAs can be considered fraud. See Chapter 4, “Decide How to Answer Ethical Questions,” in Negotiating for Success.)

  4. Do I know what the other side’s BATNA is? How can I find the other side’s BATNA? (This is the way that you will determine the other side’s strength. Decide what questions to ask during the negotiation to find the other side’s BATNA.)

  5. How can I weaken the other side’s BATNA? (In other words, how can you weaken the other side’s power? Before the negotiation, try to predict the other side’s BATNA and think about how you can weaken it.)

  6. How can I strengthen my BATNA? (In other words, how can you strengthen your power during the negotiation?)