Friday, November 13, 2015

What is your B.A.T.N.A.?

Stuart McDaniels,
Materials Manager
Those of you that follow my articles closely will find that I often talk about negotiation. I consider myself to be a student of the process of negotiation and continually look for opportunities to get better at it. I believe it to be an important part of our social interactions, whether they be in business or with friends and family.

In the book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Without Giving In, the authors, Roger Fisher and William Ury, coin the phrase B.A.T.N.A., which means “Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.” Simply put, this means it’s the best solution you have without the other party getting involved. It’s not really your best outcome necessarily, but it is the best you can do without them.

Having a good B.A.T.N.A. improves your negotiating power. Knowing you have a good alternative keeps you from giving up as much as you might if you had no alternative. And, you should generally never accept a resolution worse than your B.A.T.N.A. If you have no other options, you are likely to give in to demands from the other side that you normally would not.

If it’s beneficial to you to disclose your B.A.T.N.A. then you should do so. This can help frame the negotiation and identify to the other party that you do have other options. Otherwise, it is best to not disclose it as you can give up leverage.

This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at

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