Students in Professor Henry Musoma’s Survey of Management course had the opportunity to hear from Robert Carter, a psychologist working in Student Counseling Services at Texas A&M University and a dear friend of Musoma’s.
The topic of the day was “Managing Interpersonal Relations and Communications,” so the main point of the discussion was simple. In Carter’s words, “the key to management is communication. You have to reach and connect with people in ways that truly allow for communication to happen.”
The relationship between Carter and professor Musoma was a perfect example of this, as you could see the admiration the two share for each other in their respective careers.
Although the concept may seem simple at first glance, Carter proceeded to describe to students the issues of communication in today’s society. According to Carter, “Communication is a two-way street and has to be understood by both people. The key is connecting on a human level.” Carter points to the problem of how those connections have essentially become non-existent and a lost art for our generation. This is due to all of the distractions that are now present in our world with an ever-growing and expanding base of technology at our fingertips. “We, as humans, are no longer in tune with our emotions and experiences.”
Overcoming roadblocks in communication
Carter tied the discussion into his own personal story, acknowledging how communication has always been hard for him, and how he overcame his obstacles. Carter was born in 1956 in North Carolina. Due to complications at birth with receiving oxygen, he lost his vision and was diagnosed with total blindness at a very early age. As a blind man, he has always encountered barriers in life – barriers to activities, experiences, connections, and living a normal life. Carter never let those barriers become complete road blocks. Yes, they were challenging, but he overcame them to do everything he set his mind to, and made genuine connections with people.
Driving the message home, Carter stated that “it’s through conversation that we begin to open the door to life.” Carter closed the discussion enlightening the students that we, as people, have switched from a society of human-beings making genuine connections to a society of human-doings, meaning we are so wrapped up in and base our self-worth on our accomplishments. It is OK to strive for accomplishing things in life, but it’s when we set aside making those accomplishments as our main focus that we can begin again to make pure, genuine human connection, and truly communicate with one another.
A noteworthy performance
Before opening the floor for questions, Carter showcased exactly how he has overcome his personal struggles of being blind and how it hasn’t stopped him from pursuing his passions by playing the guitar and singing for the students. He performed two songs he wrote, which received a huge round of applause and a lot of support from the class. Every student witnessed firsthand how Carter didn’t let the obstacle of being blind stop him from doing what he loves. Sitting in that room during that moment, one could feel Carter’s passion and how proud he was of his craft, and it was the perfect ending note to his message.
Carter’s discussion left an impact on many of the students in attendance. Mollie Adams ’18, a psychology major and business minor, reached out to professor Musoma to let him know that she “never expected for my perspective as a future Practitioner to be completely changed from a lecture on Management.” Adams continued to say that “today was a wonderful reminder that my future patients are, first and foremost, human beings. Today taught me that I should be a therapist who first listens, tries to comprehend, and really hears someone before I assess what I think I know.”