The best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) is the preferred approach in the absence of an agreement. Knowledge of its own BATNA means that the best alternative approach and its costs have been fully taken into account in a negotiation. With this information in hand, the negotiator will know when to move away from a proposed agreement and follow BATNA instead. BATNA is a term coined by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 bestseller Getting to Yes: Negotiating Without Giving In.  It means “Best ALTERNATIVE TO a negotiated agreement.” In other words, it`s the best thing you can do when the other person refuses to negotiate with you – when they tell you you`re jumping into a lake! or “Go lost! So it`s not necessarily your ideal result – unless your ideal result is something you can get without the other person`s cooperation. It`s the best thing you can do without yourself. It is not always easy to develop a BATNA very close to the outcome of the negotiations. BATNA can differ in several respects from the ideal outcome of the company, which leads to a comparison with the agreement negotiated with the “orange apples”. To reduce these differences, it may be possible to assign value to BATNA points that differ from the outcome of the negotiations. You should try to increase your flexibility. It is important to keep in mind that your approach and alternatives should be able to bend in the wind and weather an unexpected storm.
A negotiator can start discussions with a preconceived idea of the best alternatives available to both parties. However, negotiators should not be bound by these prejudices. The appeal of EATNA often leads to a failure of last-minute negotiations, especially when many parties are involved. Disputes can negotiate for months or even years and ultimately develop an agreement that they deem acceptable to all. But at the end of the day, all parties must carefully consider the final result and decide: “Is this better than all my alternatives?” Only if all parties say “yes” can the agreement be reached. If only one party changes its mind, the agreement can break. This is why it is essential for a successful negotiation to know your own opponents and their opponents and to know the BATNAs and EATNAs of the opponents. The definition or ability to find a negotiator`s best alternative to a negotiated agreement is one of the many information negotiators seek in formulating dealmaking and negotiating strategies.
If your current negotiations are deadlocked, what is your best external option? Here is a process developed by Harvard Law School to develop the best alternative to a negotiated agreement: the power of your BATNA gives you the leverage to ask for more. If you don`t get what you`re looking for, then you can turn to your best alternative. A strong BATNA is like a hot and fuzzy insurance. A strong alternative offers you two possibilities. Either they make an agreement on more advantageous terms, or you just say “no business” because you have a good alternative plan. Having good options at your disposal before starting negotiations is a proven method. You will feel able and confident either to reach a satisfactory agreement for both parties or to go to your best alternative. Let`s look at the scenario in which you have the strongest BATNA. Suppose you know that the other party has to make a deal.