The Psychology, Strategies, and Techniques of Negotiation. Member Spotlight: Paul Boyer

Paul holds a Juris Doctorate from William & Mary Law Schoolthe oldest law school in the United States. He continued his education with a master’s degree in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University. Paul’s strongest interest in international business prompted him work for a while at the Export Import Bank of the U.S, a government bank responsible for financing exports from the United States to emerging markets. This role, as well as his next job developing international strategic alliances in the telecommunications industry with MCI WorldCom provided Paul the opportunity to travel around the world. While Paul was doing legal consulting, he realized that he had a considerable interest in the psychology of mediation and negotiation. Thanks to his extensive previous experience- negotiating complex international deals with different cultures, Paul launched his own negotiation training business called “Negotiate Solutions” to provide negotiation workshops and training for corporates sales team and other employee groups. During this time, Paul did the basic mediation training as well as the mediator practicum programs offered by the Dispute Resolution Center of King County in Seattle.

Current Work

Something very admirable about Paul is that he’s doing a lot of volunteer work in mediation. Through the Dispute Resolution Center of King County in Seattle, he became very involved in the Small Claims Court mediation program, where disputants for claims under $5,000 must try mediation before the judge hears their case. This was so successful that what started as an experiment ended up as a formal collaboration between the King County Court system and the Dispute Resolution Center’s volunteer mediators. Paul refers to this as “speed mediating” because volunteer mediators only have about an hour and a half to try and facilitate a resolution using the mediation process. He explained that the Small Claims Court mediation program is a “great way as a mediator to get a lot of experience in a very compressed time and manage the process efficiently.” In 2021 Paul was invited to join the Board of Directors of the Dispute Resolution Center of King County in Seattle which focuses on providing low-cost community dispute resolution services and promoting peace.

Paul’s mediation activities are all on a volunteer basis, and professionally he serves as the General Counsel or chief in-house lawyer for two different e-commerce companies in Seattle, Washington, Replenium and Ideoclick.

Connection to MBBI

A few years ago, Paul heard about Mediators Beyond Borders International. He was immediately drawn to the work of our organization and the fact that it bring international mediators together. Already familiar with the work of one of the MBBI’s founders: Kenneth Cloke, he quickly understood that MBBI have considerable potential and credibility. Paul, therefore, advises anyone who has the opportunity to attend one of Ken’s lectures, talks, or training sessions to do since in his words: “Kenneth Cloke is the guru of mediation.”

Advice for young mediators

Paul advises new mediators to become students of negotiation because mediation is essentially a facilitated negotiation. As Paul observed: “It is not just about becoming an excellent mediator but also about understanding the arts and science of negotiations.” The deeper your understanding of the psychology, strategies and techniques of negotiation, the more effective you can be as a mediator.

Article by Sarah Vorms, MBBI Writer