I recently returned from a mission trip with the Blackfeet Tribe in Montana across the continental divide.  Coming to a different culture, I was coached on how to converse.  Don’t make direct eye contact as it can be seen as aggression.  If asking a question, allow for them to respond and realize that often they might pause for a period of time even though they are not done with their response.  I found that these were not easy rules to follow but I did manage to have some meaningful conversations.

I found that the same things can be said about those in poverty or need.  I am also reminded of my manners and that if I am talking then I am not listening.  I might have important things to say, but if I do not consider the thoughts and needs of my neighbor then we are just talking past each other and nothing will be accomplished.  To truly help, we must first understand and listen and realize that this is a real person coming to the discussion with a different perspective, life experience and skill set than your own.  It is your job to bridge the communication divide.