Sharing my recent experience of the power of Mediation and Negotiation.

Last Thursday, I was driving my car and waiting at a signal to take left turn. As soon as the signal turned green, I took left turn. Hardly I would have travelled 100 meters and I heard some noise like some one is knocking. I had second thought, that may be there was something on the road. I looked back in rear view mirror. But found nothing. Again there was a knock sound. I looked to my right and there was this guy, riding a scooter. He indicated me to slow down and park on side. I obliged, thinking there might be some issue with my car and he wants to point it out. I opened the window of left side (I am driving right hand car, as is common in this part of the World). He said you hit my scooter. And he came near my right side window, as he was stating “see there is a scratch on your door”. I came out of the car.. I started “listening” what he has to say – thinking in my mind – I don’t know if I hurt him and hit his scooter. He showed me some scratch on the front right door. I was surprised to see that. Then he took me near his scooter and told me that he had spent some INR 4000 in getting his scooter repaired just a day before. 

I saw his scooter. It was very old – might be 12-15 years old. Not maintained and had lots of denting on it. First words that I told him, “I will pay you, if I have hit you. Frankly, I have not even seen you. But I will pay you. Tell me how much to pay”.

These words assured him that he will get what he wants, so his anger was cooled down.

However, Instead of telling me the amount, he demanded to pay in cash. 

Sensing he might be trying to trick me as I genuinely believed I have not even seen him while I was driving, so how can I hit him? I lied “I don’t have cash”. 

He immediately told me that there is an ATM nearby and you can draw the cash. I got further suspicion. I again lied “I am not carrying cards too. Why don’t you give me your mobil number, I will pay by UPI”. To this he said that there is no balance in his mobile (pre-paid mobile). I told him, that’s fine, you give me mobile and I insisted. He finally gave his mobile number and I dialled it. It started ringing in his pocket. Before I can say anything, he said “I don’t have mobile linked to bank account so can’t accept UPI”. I changed the conversation, while looking inside my mobile – “Tell me your name”. He told me and I further respectfully asked him, “where do you stay?” Now, he fumbled but gave reply. 

Sensing something was not right, I asked him ‘I will ask someone from my office to bring cash and pay you, but let Police decide how much to be paid.” To this proposal, he frightened (I could see his face – though he was wearing a helmet) and asked me “Why Police?”. I replied, “Because it’s a case of an accident, so let’s go to police station and let police decide the amount to be paid”. He did not bothered to even reply me and just sat on his scooter. So I sat in my car. I thought he wants to come to the police station. I was actually in a hurry for important work. But thought let this take whatever time it takes. I looked at him while starting my car, he took U turn and went off!

In this entire episode, I found that I never insulted or argued with the guy. I presumed he might be right. But at the same time expressed my perspective that I had not even seen him when took left turn, so wondering how I might have hurt? I genuinely intended to pay the guy looking at condition of his scooter. But instead of telling me the amount, he insisted cash payment and then ATM etc.

Had I not studied and practised mediation and negotiation – I could have ended fighting with this guy. 

Moral: “Other side might be right from his perspective. Believe and without insulting or arguing, listen as a possibility. Be active listener. And then share your perspective. Be genuine. ” Normally, we want to say our side of the story and do not wish to listen the other side or doubt it.