"The Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement."
BATNA is what you should weigh all negotiated agreements against. It is your best option if you can't reach an agreement; your "Plan B." Knowing your BATNA will provide an objective standard for every situation and allow you to judge if an agreement is unfavorable or if it will serve your best interests.
"The Worst Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement."
WATNA is another objective standard that can help you evaluate a potential settlement offer. It is a continuation of BATNA, except you are looking at the worst-case scenario and evaluating potential negative outcomes. This can help you determine if a potential settlement offer should be accepted or refused.
"Most Likely Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement."
A variation of BATNA and WATNA, MLANTA can help you determine what outcome is most likely if you refuse a settlement. As with BATNA and WATNA, this perspective can help you evaluate a potential settlement to determine if it suits your needs or if you would be better off without it.
To determine these, it is important to think about all of your possible options. Ask yourself, “If I do not settle here today, what will happen?”
List all alternatives. Think about every option available if your current negotiation fails to settle.
People negotiate to obtain something they want or an agreement they need which is better than what they could achieve without negotiating. This means you take the potential negotiated agreement and directly compare it to your options if you don’t reach an agreement.
A skilled mediator can help you determine your BATNA, WANTA and MLANTA and discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of each. Not all issues are best resolved by mediation. Sometimes your better choice is to reject the offered settlement and take your case to trial.
Knowing and fully evaluating your situation, using these tools, will help you make an educated decision.