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What is Batna in negotiation? Everything you need to know about negotiation alternatives

Study guide

Batna is the focus and driving force of success in any professional negotiation. Every professional negotiator should consider the best possible options before starting a negotiation and be prepared for bargaining. If you have an alternative to any undesirable agreement, you will feel empowered and confident. With Batna, you will either reach a win-win agreement or start negotiations on better terms. Batna is the best alternative to the agreement you have reached in a negotiation. If you want to be able to say “no” in your negotiations, join us to explore all aspects of Batna.

Batna is not a new concept and its use has a long history. Batna is an example of the old adage that says, “Never put all your eggs in one basket!” This wise piece of advice is a serious warning to negotiators: If you are negotiating with only one group and have no alternative, the worst possible deal awaits you (if there is one at all!). Research shows that focusing on Batna, both in business and in politics, is the most important factor in success, and neglecting it is the main reason for failure in negotiation.

What is Batna?

Batna (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) means the best alternative to the agreement you reach in a negotiation. When your negotiations are not going well and they reach a dead end, Batna draws an alternative plan and a way out for you. Batna can be your trump card in the current negotiations and increase your bargaining power! When the other party knows you have other options, it is likely to be less strict. If you have prepared yourself, you have the power to leave the negotiating table at any time. Batna is basically both a negotiation skill and a negotiation strategy! To gain bargaining power at the negotiating table, you need to devise the best negotiation strategy using Batna’s organizing skills.

Imagine you have passed the negotiation skills course and you are an expert negotiator. In this way, you will surely learn the value of being fully prepared to participate in the negotiations. Now suppose you want to buy a specific product. Before starting the main negotiations, you start the initial negotiations with two different suppliers. Both are your preferred suppliers and have the ability to meet your requirements. You prefer one supplier to another and start the main negotiation. At the beginning of the session, you lean back in your chair and listen calmly to their situation. When it is your turn, you talk about some of the conditions and offers of the competing supplier and you see the change of face and the jump of joy from the eyes of the negotiator. You have actually unveiled your batna!

To have a batna or not? This is the problem

The power that Batna gives you increases your ability to use pressure levers. If you do not get what you want, you can go for your alternative. Strong Batna acts just like reliable and efficient insurance. Alternatives give you two options: either you come to an agreement on more favorable terms or you just leave the negotiating table and execute the next plan. Remember that you should never be overly dependent on a particular supplier or customer. Dependence will bring you bargaining power.

Batna is not a ready solution in advance! Batna is the result of a two-step preparation and planning process. In the first step, you must discover all your alternative ways and plans and choose the best alternative. In the second step, you should consider all the alternatives of the negotiating party with a realistic approach. Both stages are equally vital. You need to realize that your alternatives are more powerful and practical or the other side’s alternatives!

You need to increase your flexibility. Your main approach and alternative plans should always be ready for sudden changes and stand like young, flexible branches in the wind and storm. Professional negotiators usually have a picture of the best deal and alternatives in mind before negotiating; But one should never be trapped in these assumptions and assumptions.

Conditions can change quickly, especially in a country like Iran! You may encounter changes at any time, such as new information, a sudden increase in costs and prices, or new terms and conditions. Remember that any change in circumstances during the negotiation can affect the strength of the parties.

How to design your own batna

How to design your own batna - what is batna in negotiation

How do you identify the best alternative to an agreement? First, dissect your position and expectations from the outcome of the negotiations; Then see what your best alternatives are, considering all aspects; Make the options light and heavy and finally choose the best option; Now, put yourself in the other person’s shoes and consider his or her preferred options. The key to successful negotiation is to get the most complete picture possible of the whole negotiation process. Some of the most important things to analyze are:

  • CostAsk yourself how much the current deal costs compared to your best alternative. To estimate costs, consider both short-term and long-term considerations. See which option costs you the most.
  • possibility: See which agreement is more realistic and feasible. Which option can you implement at the desired time?
  • InterestsWhich options have the most positive and immediate effect on you?
  • Outcomes: See what the consequences of each agreement will be for you or what solutions it will offer you.
  • BeneficiariesDo you have to get the opinion of other stakeholders (for example, company shareholders) to use Batna?

The narcissism and organization of Batna

Batna's narcissism and organization - What is Batna in negotiation?

You must have heard that you are your own greatest enemy! You have to control your pride and narcissism. You put a lot of effort and design your batna in the best way and it is not strange if you feel a little proud. Research shows that our human nature tends to think of our Batna better than it is and at the same time underestimate the Batna power of the other side!

We usually encounter this problem when one of the parties turns his baton too soon and much better than it is. When one side plays their cards very fast, the other side has to do the same. In this way, if one of the parties is empty-handed, the negotiation sheet will soon be to his detriment.

Suppose you have a stronger baton and you know that reaching an agreement is very important for the other party. You also know that the other party does not have a viable alternative. It is in this situation that you are tempted to turn your powerful baton. Of course, this is the worst thing you can do! In fact, by doing so, you are rubbing the nose of your negotiator and insulting him. This may work in the short term, but in the medium and long term, the other party will look for a replacement for you and take revenge on you!

Do not forget that Batna is a lever of pressure and you must use your bargaining power wisely. As always, adjust the amount of pressure you use according to the situation. Proper timing plays a major role in the success of the Batna lever.

Strengthen Batna

Strengthen Batna

Suppose you are in a weak position. What can be done with a weak bat? Can you change your position? Of course you can and you have two ways to do it. The first way is to strengthen your battery. The second way is to undermine the other side’s baton (or at least the other side’s perception of his own batn)! Here are some guidelines for you:

  • Be creativeSee what other options you can use to increase your bargaining power. Gather all the important people involved in the ongoing negotiations and hold brainstorming sessions. In Batna planning, you should also consider the other party’s priorities, interests, and options.
  • Strengthen your battery: Do your best to increase the alternatives. You may be able to bring in more suppliers or buyers. You may find new options with similar benefits to yourself or your negotiator. For example, you may be able to get the other party’s opinion better by being creative in financing expenses! By doing this, you can reduce the power of the other side and bring the negotiations to a new stage.
  • Use specialistsNeutral experts can be very effective in analyzing your problem and providing a new solution. Many experts will set new terms for your agreement and return the negotiation sheet in your favor. If you feel that your organization does not have the expertise to do some things, be sure to use the cooperation of experts.


Starting a negotiation without alternatives is not a wise thing to do and will probably lead to your failure. If you have a practical and attractive attitude, you can reach a win-win agreement with complete confidence. Even if you do not agree with the negotiating party, you can safely go to your alternatives.

If you have gained instructive experiences in your discussions,. You can share these experiences with us and other readers under this article. You can send this article to other friends and colleagues and strengthen their ability to negotiate.





What is Batna in negotiation? Everything you need to know about negotiation alternatives

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