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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Qureshi on Negotiation

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Some time ago, I ran across a couple of blog posts by Haseeb Qureshi, whose job hunting exploits had gone viral. The topic of the two posts is negotiating a job offer, but I think they are valuable for negotiation in general. Here is an excerpt from the second regarding the value of having alternatives:

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In negotiation literature, your best alternative is often referred to as your BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement). Basically, it's what you'd do if you walked away.

I like the term BATNA a lot, mostly because it sounds like a gadget Batman would lob at bad guys.

So what's your BATNA if you don't have other offers? Do you even have one?

Of course you do. Your best alternative might be "interview at more companies" or "go to grad school" or "stay at your current job" or "go on sabbatical in Morocco for a few months" (as it was for a friend of mine who was deliberating between joining a startup and gallivanting through North Africa).

The point is, you don't need to have another offer to have a strong BATNA. Your BATNA's strength comes from 1) how strong the other side perceives it to be, and 2) how strong you perceive it to be. [emphasis in original]
Qureshi's general approach to negotiation might best be encapsulated by the following, taken from earlier in that post: "[W]hen you think of negotiating a job offer, don't imagine haggling over a used car. Think more like negotiating dinner plans with a group of friends, and you'll fare much better." Throughout the piece, Qureshi helps the reader see things from each side of the negotiation, and realize that even when the process might seem like a zero-sum game, it really isn't. Most important, he provides solid reasons for his advice throughout, which will permit the reader to evaluate it and, in the process start building confidence as a negotiator right away.

-- CAV

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