This morning I read this quote from philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend, which I found on The Kindly Ones. I think it is applicable beyond science, as an approach to open-mindedness and communication in general.
The [...] distinction between ‘respectable’ people and cranks [...] does not lie in the fact that the former suggests what is plausible and promises success, whereas the latter suggest what is implausible, absurd and bound to fail. It cannot lie in this because we never know in advance which theory will be successful and which theory will fail. It takes a long time to decide this question, and every single step leading to such a decision is again open to revision. Nor can the absurdity of a point of view count as a general argument against it. It is a reasonable consideration for the choice of one’s own theories to demand that they seem plausible to oneself. This is one’s private affair, so to speak. But to declare that only plausible theories should be considered is going too far. No, the distinction between the crank and the respectable thinker lies in the research done once a certain point of view is adopted. The crank usually is content with defending the point of view in its original, undeveloped, metaphysical form, and he is not at all prepared to tests its usefulness in all those cases which seem to favour the opponent, or even to admit that there exists a problem. It is this further investigation, the details of it, the knowledge of the difficulties, of the general state of knowledge, the recognition of objections, which distinguishes the ‘respectable thinker’ from the crank. The original content of his theory does not. If he thinks that Aristotle should be given a further chance, let him do it and wait for the results. If he rests content with his assertion and does not start elaborating a new dynamics, if he is unfamiliar with the initial difficulties of his position, then the matter is of no further interest. However, if he does not rest content with Aristotelianism in the form in which it exists today but tries to adapt it to the present situation in astronomy, physics, and micro-physics, making new suggestions, looking at old problems from a new point of view, then be grateful that there is at last somebody who has unusual ideas and do not try to stop him in advance with irrelevant and misguided arguments.