These 2 acronyms are very helpful in making sure you have your “Best (Worst) Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement”, ready to go but they do leave off an important aspect. That is of course, “time sequencing” which invariably becomes a key part of the process of coming to an agreement.
Consider the last negotiation you were in, and recall the ‘momentum changing event’. To change the momentum requires an ‘action forcing’ event and you need to be ready to do that – at the right time.
Have you ever has second thoughts about when you made a concession and asked yourself if you should have kept that one in your pocket a little longer? Knowing when to trade and when to hold, can help you influence the momentum in a negotiation.
Try this list of thought provoking ideas as you prepare for your next negotiation:
1- Have a list of trade-able items – your BATNA and WATNA will include these – and prioritize them.
2- Have a plan for trading these at different times. Know when to trade what. For example, what would make you trade your most valuable item, your 2nd most valuable item, etc. When would you do that?
3- Avoid brinkmanship, and know how to respond should your opposite number try this tactic. If you are confronted with a ‘climb down and lose’ situation, have a back door that will work for both parties, and pick the right time to use this.
4- Force things to happen on your time scale. This is where you can control the momentum. Keeping the issues live keeps you in the driver’s seat.
Negotiations are always about the “what”, but remember that managing the “when” will give you the edge in your negotiation.