An article in one of the local free newspapers this week spoke about the rising of foreign trained doctors in the current health care system. It goes on further discussing the implications of language and accents with regards to doctor-patient communication. I agree with the article on every regards. However, this post will discuss the other side of the story.
Living in NYC have exponentially increased my cultural experience; from my usual contact with Asian cultures of Japan, China, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam to a deeper understanding of Brazil, Argentina and of Europe. In all of these, I have learned to listen with an open mind. From political / cultural views, to religious beliefs, movies and my ever so favorite topic, food.
Whenever people converse, emotion plays an important part on both the speaker and the listener. Language aside, people tend to listen only to what they want to hear. If they feel that they are not hearing what they want to hear, they block you out. When they don't agree with your point of view, they block you out. When they don't feel like you are smart enough to talk to them, they block you out. This is not the art of listening at all.
When you listen, you listen with an open and quiet mind. You may not agree with what is being said, but you can definitely be courteous enough to listen. Who knows, you just might learn something.