Part 5 – The Power of the WATNA in Negotiation Skills

Many people think that negotiating is difficult and full of underhanded tactics. In our experience, negotiations can be positive, productive and fun. This five part series uncovers the value of key elements in the negotiations process – specifically the negotiations range. You may ask “what is the range?” Many business professionals who negotiate in their jobs focus only on the monetary aspect when thinking about their range. However, there are many other elements that can be included such as service hours, warranties, extras, delivery times, percentages… Be creative! And, always think mutuality-based, win-win as these will deepen relationships so people want to work with you again.

There are five interactive areas that make up the range: the Wish, the Aspiration, the Bottom Line, the BATNA, and the WATNA. Earlier articles in the series focused on the power of the Wish, the Aspiration, the Bottom Line, and the BATNA. Read on to learn about the WATNA as it relates to the sale of a house.

Power of the WATNA:

WATNA stands for the Worst Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. In the preparation phase of your negotiation, you need to consider what is the worst that will happen if you do not sell in a particular negotiation. Going to the worst case scenario in your negotiation preparation has a particular benefit: you might reconsider your bottom line. In negotiation skills, it is good to know what you would reconsider and the rationale. In this example of selling a home, you may need to sell your home by a certain deadline to relocate for a new job. Well, that limits your options in the particular negotiation. In this case, you might restructure your bottom line back to $350,000 or even lower to sell faster. WATNA is a very helpful tool to consider prior to entering into any negotiation as it helps you have more clarity and negotiation success.

How to Learn More:

Now that you have read all 5 parts of this series you are well on your way to negotiating success. Speaking of Negotiating Success, you can learn more about how to apply all five of these tools in our training session entitled Negotiating Success™. Or look for our soon-to-be published text book with the same name of Negotiating Success. You’ll be glad you did when you come out of your next negotiation more satisfied and financially ahead. For more information about negotiations skills or negotiations training courses please visit or today.


About The Author:

Jim Hornickel is co-founder of Bold New Directions, a transformational learning company that works with companies to transform people and performance through training solutions including seminars, webinars, coaching and keynote events. Bold New Directions specializes in training solutions that build leadership skills, communication skills and resilience at work. Jim leads dynamic workshops that help professionals grow their negotiation skills. You can learn more about Jim Hornickel and the topic of Negotiations Training at Bold New Directions by visiting the company web site at or at our negotiations training site