Communication In Higher Education

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About Dean Martin, Ph.D.

chris_martinDr. Christopher Martin, Dean of the College of Business at Louisiana Tech University, is a CapitalOne Professor of Business. Dean Martin earned his Doctorate of Philosophy in Organizational Behavior and Human Resources Management from Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Martin has been published in the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal, among other major publications. Dr. Martin’s background in psychology and organizational behavior has shaped many of his beliefs on communication and prepared him for many of his leadership roles.

Communicative Relationships

Communication is more than just speaking, listening, and gesturing. Communication is one of the most powerful tools know to man. It is the responsibility of an organization’s leadership to set the standard for communication. Dr. Martin said, “I have an open door policy, and I try to encourage an open dialogue with everyone who works alongside me. I want our faculty, staff, and students to know that while we are an organized, professional institution, we are also a family.” Relationships are the foundation for effective and efficient communication.

Effective, Efficient Communication

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 7.13.36 PMThe time that Dean Martin has spent in classrooms and around conference tables with university presidents, board members, donors, and students has taught him how to adapt his communication style to an ever changing audience. He believes that communication has many key components, but he highlighted the two he believes to be most important – preparedness and listening. When Dr. Martin was a classroom instructor he expected his students to prepare for his lectures prior to class. “I always provided examples of situations, cases, and issues I was going to address, and I encouraged my students to think about those cases in the context of their own lives. I was not only an instructor, but I was a mentor, and an advisor. I took every opportunity I could to affect change in both the hearts and the minds of my students. It took time, but I learned how to communicate with my students in a personally professional way.” Dean Martin believes that one should always prepare his/her goal, determine his/her steps to convey the information, and then go after the outcome he/she desires. Your target can be either persuasive or informative, but the tactic is always the same: be prepared to listen to those who the decision affects, be prepared to make decisions, and be prepared to communicate the path that led to your decisions.

Though much of Martin’s communication now takes place through email correspondence, he still prefers oral communication. Dean Martin believes that there is less room for misconceptions when communicating orally. He loves to roam the halls of the College of Business so that he may communicate face-to-face.

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 7.13.52 PM“Everyone at this institution is pushed for time, so it is my job to give them key pieces of information as efficiently as possible. It is my duty to anticipate the needs of our faculty, staff, and students. I want to help in every way that I can so it is important that my information is clear and concise. If I am disseminating information that is difficult to understand, I take time to personally explain the information and often times I attach a memo to clarify what was difficult to say in the formal document.”

Communication through Experience

When asked what he believes is the most important form of communication Dean Martin answered, “Listening.” “I try not to have an answer before a question is ever asked, but I always want to be as prepared with as much information as I can possibly have. My job is help guide our team to a solution and to be prepared to make a decision at the necessary moment.”

Brett Hooks, Guest Blogger

 

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