Mediation Tip: Sometimes the other party is just more powerful than you

The most any method of negotiation can do is to meet two objectives: first, to protect you against making an agreement you should reject and second, to help you make the most of the assets you do have so that any agreement you reach will satisfy your interests as well as possible.

To protect yourself, develop and know your WATNA / BATNA: Worst / Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement: for the reason you negotiate is to produce something better than the results you can obtain without negotiating. The result you can obtain without negotiating is between your WATNA and your BATNA.

The better your ATNAs, the greater your power so it’s essential to know your ATNAs and take time to make sure it’s as strong as it could be. The same will hold true for the other party. There are three steps to developing your ATNA:

  • Invent a list of actions you might take if no agreement is reached
  • Improve some of the more promising ideas and convert them into practical alternatives
  • Select, tentatively, the one alternative that seems best or reasonable worst case and value it as best you can

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