The challenge for the negotiator is to find an outcome that both sides will consider fair. Seeking standards can help. Human rights norms contained in internationally accepted agreements and practice are one example of standards.

Successful negotiators try to head-off a contest of wills by turning discussions into a joint search for a fair and mutually acceptable outcome. One technique is to seek fair standards independent of either side’s will and accepted by both as objective. An independent standard is a measuring stick that allows you to decide what is a fair standard. Common standards can be law, equal treatment, or precedent. Common standards can allow parties to accept agreements as fair.