Always Know Your BATNA

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Always Know Your BATNA

Encourager-In-Chief: December 6th, 2017

This is crucial for negotiating.

I went to my first negotiating seminar back in the 1980s. One of the first things the instructor taught us was about our BATNA. This stands for the Best Alternative To No Agreement. This means when you go into a negotiation before you agree to anything, you need to have identified your “walk away number”.

For example, let’s say you’re going to a job interview. If you are unsure how much a position will pay, you had better decide how much money you will need in order to be able to accept a position. If you know that your living expenses are going to require you to earn at least $33,000 a year, don’t accept a job that pays less than that number. $33,000 salary offer becomes your Best Alternative To No Agreement or your BATNA.

Why is this so important? There’s no sense in taking a job offer that is going to put you in the red. You’ll wind up losing money and going into debt. If you know your BATNA before you go into a negotiation, you will not make a costly mistake. Instead, you can either negotiate for a higher offer, or, if that is not possible, you know that you can walk away from the table without any guilt, second-guessing, or doubt about your decision.

This also holds true if you are approaching a client about negotiating a price. There’s no sense entering into an agreement that will result in you losing money. If you have identified your BATNA before you begin, you take the gut-wrenching emotion out of the negotiation and turn the experience into a fact-finding session. Not all business is worth having. Forewarned is forearmed. You owe it to yourself to know your “walkaway number” before you enter a negotiation.

It’s not personal. It’s just business
- Al Pacino, as Michael Corleone in The Godfather

This excerpt is taken from my Communication Excellence III: Negotiation Excellence seminar.


Communication Excellence III: Negotiation Excellence


I also encourage you to order my Negotiation Excellence video program which also includes this lesson in much greater detail.

Negotiation Excellence


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