“Don’t bargain yourself down before you get to the table.” Carol Frohlinge
One survey of negotiators some years ago found that successful negotiators spent twice as much time acquiring and clarifying information as the less successful negotiators.
They also asked twice as many questions, and were shown to be much more effective at active listening. Much of this could possibly be classified under planning for the negotiation.
Planning is such a key component of negotiating, and a Negotiation Planner can help us to be much more prepared for negotiations. The following template can help you do this.
|Your Wants/Needs, etc.||Their Want/Needs, etc. (you may need to guess)|
|Your Key Stakeholders||Their Key Stakeholders|
|Your Overall Goal||Their Overall Goal|
|Your Wants & Needs||Their Wants &Needs|
|Your Opening Position||Their Likely Opening Position|
|Your Subsequent Positions||Their Likely Subsequent Positions|
|Your BATNA||Their Likely BATNA|
|Your Creative Opportunities||Their Creative Opportunities|
What is a BATNA? This is an acronym for Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement. Very often, a bottom line is arbitrary, and may actually prohibit us from obtaining the best results. A BATNA is an alternative to a bottom line, and some experts suggest that a BATNA is the best standard against which negotiated agreements should be measured. The key point is to focus on interests and underlying needs rather than arbitrary fixed positions.
My wife and I applied BATNA in our personal lives when we sold our home a few years ago. We initially agreed on a bottom line selling price, which was quite arbitrary. Then we discussed our BATNA, which was interesting! We realised that our best alternatives to negotiated agreement were:
1. Rent our home out while we moved elsewhere.
2. Defer selling the home until the market picked up.
3. Make changes to our home, so that it more fully encompassed all our needs.
4. Renegotiate our home loan.
We agreed that number 2 would be our key BATNA if we didn’t sell, which we did, by the way.
Look up BATNA on Google if you want to know more about it.
Questions for you to consider:
Consider recent or current negotiations you are involved in. What is your BATNA(S)?
Do/did you need to spend more time planning – perhaps completing a Negotiation Planner?
Narayan van de Graaff