Negotiating is an art. Simple yet effective techniques can make a negotiation not only profitable, but more fun. It's important to understand the entirety of what you are negotiating not only to better understand your opponent's position, but also to ensure that you're getting the best in the end. You need to keep your emotions under wraps to be effective during a negotiation.
No matter how desperate you may be, your appearance of confidence will set your opposition back a bit. Be calm and cheerful, and exude confidence not only in yourself, but in the entirely reasonable request that you are making. Don't in any way, shape or form indicate that you're desperate for the deal, the job, the car, the house or the item for which you are negotiating. You'll give your opponent all the power in the deal in this situation, and you will end up with a result that you might well rue.
Prior to starting the negotiation, make sure you're on top of every detail (for example, the cost of any add-ons, the price of financing, rebates available or the going rate for contract or supplies). Having these details available quickly gives you far more power in negotiating as it becomes apparent that you understand the business issue at hand--it lends you credibility. If issues arise of which you were not aware, stop the negotiation and take time to get further information before continuing.
Negotiating is not meeting in the middle. It is finding a common place of agreement. You don't have to start too high or start low, but the deal that you strike will not be the deal you start with. Make sure you've built into any opening offer enough buffer so that you can make concessions that are not of tremendous importance to you. This way, your opponent can whittle away some things, yet you still come out ahead, satisfying both parties.
Know What You Want
Similarly, know what your bottom line is. If too much is being whittled away, your deal isn't going to be satisfactory. Make sure you know in advance what is absolutely the minimum that works. Be willing to walk away if that minimum is no longer available. It's a powerful technique and one that gives a chance for cooler heads to prevail if the negotiating is becoming heated.
Don't Lose Your Cool
If it's getting very heated, take a time out. Walk outside, review your needs and assess where you are in the negotiation. If you've just been surprised with new information, either research it using your hand-held computer or reschedule until you can be fully up to speed on the item. If you're clearly too far apart from your opponent and she's unwilling to budge, assess whether to walk away now or see what further steps you can take, if any.