Uncertainty is a fact of life in war and in negotiation. In the face of ambiguity, imperfect information, and contradictory options, choices none- theless must be made and actions taken. According to Warfighting, perfect clarity and complete information are never possible in combat; therefore, decisions must be based on reasonable probabilities and calculated risks.
So it is for negotiators, as well. As we prepare to meet with other parties, we will seldom fully know their true interests, their no-deal alter- natives, or their willingness to compromise. (In fact, they may not know any of that very well themselves.) If we are persuasive, for example, they may end up agreeing on certain points that they would have rejected at first. As a consequence, it may be hard at the outset to know how much room there is for agreement, or what approach would maximize the chance of reaching it.