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Let’s Talk Series – Environmental Communication

Man working on laptop near the humidifier on the table

I always wanted to learn a lot more about new media and how it impacts me, how it impacts businesses, and things like that. And then I ended up getting my doctorate in global leadership dealing with organizational management, and you cannot manage an organization without communication. And so, learning cross-cultural communication, in that respect, it changed my life. So, going through all of those things and schooling, I ended up coming out, as, of course, the university lecturer, but I really focus on cross-cultural organizational communication, that is a mouthful to say.

Today, we’re going to be talking about environmental communication. Now, environmental communication in the industry, it actually refers to communication that’s related to factors that impact the environment. We’re talking about actual nature and corporate social responsibility, and how that impacts the world we live in. But today, we’re not going to be focused on the nature aspect. We’re now going to be focused on environmental communication, and that respect. Today I want to focus on nurture. I want to focus on your environment, your space, your surroundings.

Because your surroundings really affect the way we think, the way we act, the way we live, the way we respond, I mean all of that. So, when we’re talking about environmental communication, we are essentially talking about the way your surroundings speak to you. And the way your surroundings express you to other people. Now, something that I definitely want you to know is your environment communicates internally and externally, it not only speaks to you, but it also expresses to the outside world who you are. It not only speaks to you, that’s internal communication, but it also expresses to the outside world who you are, that’s the external communication. So, when we’re talking about internal communication, we oftentimes will talk about, if a room is junky, or if we have a messy office, we’ll say, Oh, my gosh, you know, it’s just chaos. Excuse, the chaos?

Well, it tends to reflect our state of mind, not saying that all chaos is bad, all chaos is not bad chaos. But when we just get into a flow, a workflow where we have so much going on, and maybe your desk becomes messy, your floor, your room, everything becomes messy. And like for those of you who are parents, I haven’t been blessed to have children yet. But I have loved ones who have children, and they’ll clean up the house one moment, and then the next moment it’s messy again, because kids, they go, and they’ll play and they’ll see one thing, and then they’ll see one toy, and then they’ll want to go run and play with another toy.

And well, we’re basically just big kids, we will start one project, get excited about it. And then another opportunity or another project or another idea comes to mind, and we’ll run and we’ll start working on that project. And then another idea or another project or something else comes to mind, and we’ll drop that one and pick it up. And then we have so many different fires going on at the same time. We just forget to tidy up or clean up and that’s when our environment begins to look chaotic. Not saying that it’s bad. But just saying that it’s now becoming cluttered, there’s not enough space to clean it all up. So, we have to take care of that.

So, you got to remember your environment, your space, it speaks to you first, because you’re the first one who sees it right? When you see it, when you wake up in the morning, or walk into your office or go into your classroom, go into any door, you are the first person that sees that environment. So, it speaks to you first. But everyone else that comes after that it speaks to them as an expression of who you are. Every day your environment should inspire you to get up with purpose every day. And you should have an environment that is clear. I mean, it doesn’t have to be super clean. If that’s not who you are, I’m not saying that being dirty is a good way to be. But it’s just you know how to operate in your chaos, there are other people who they could try to operate in your chaotic environment and they will go crazy because they’re chaos, but your level of chaos is not something that they can handle.

If your environment is not conducive to your creativity, or for you to produce, if your environment makes you want to stay lazy, or to have self-pity, or to be a victim, if you don’t have a lot of windows in your space, or maybe you have one window or you don’t have any windows and you just like for it to stay dark, flip on some switches, some lights or something and get to work like there should be something in your environment that says, Wow, I have another chance to do this task or I have another chance to make something of this day.

An example of this for me, I, in the beginning, I told you that I’ve been temporarily displaced from my home in China, due to the pandemic, to be honest, we don’t know when Americans will be able to return, okay? Because every other country, they’re starting to allow foreigners to come back because they’re the pandemic has been contained in their regions, or they’ve been, you know, abiding by the laws of the land. And yet, America is not really doing that, and supposedly is like getting worse. And so, the Chinese government, they’re seeing this and they’re like, oh, you’re not going to be able to come back yet.

So, my university has actually told us that we’re going to be teaching online next semester, once again, I’m here in the States, stuck and the environment from I came to the environment that I came to, I’m here with my parents, because my home is in Dali, in China, I’m here with my parents. And when I got here, I basically was in my room from childhood. And that had such a coup, that thing has such an impact on me in a negative way when I would wake up in the morning, I would have no energy, would not want to do anything, would want to be lazy, actually, I would just want to stay in bed, depression was slowly like creeping in because I can’t control my external forces, I can’t control what is happening with the pandemic, or with the Chinese government, and even with America and China, I can’t control any of those things.

But I can control my internal factors, I can control my thoughts and I can control my actions to other things that I hear on the news, from the university, by email, whatever. So, I had to get my environment together. Because I had to listen, working from home. And I’ve done it for so many years. Because that was a part of my job, but customer service, but now teaching to students who are literally across the world.

In China morning time, which is our evening time, I’m going to have to teach, I couldn’t do it in the space that I was in. So, I started remodeling my space, I started changing my environment, I had to get rid of things that reminded me of the young me who God help her.

And I had to build up my space that reflects me who I am now, Dr. Charity Campbell, these children, I call them children, but they’re young adults, they’re going to be looking at me through camera while they’re sitting in campus. And I got to make sure that my space is together, I got to make sure that when I come for my delivery, even though if I’m not there with them in person, in the classroom, I need them to still understand my presence is completely justified.

And when I tell you to do this assignment, this is what I expect like the same type of presence that I have in Canada, like in class I need to have a camera and so I had to change my environment to get me in the right mood. So, took about six weeks. I did a lot with my mom, she was just like, it looks totally different. Because I had to get my environmental communication together, like what I want my environment to speak to me, but to also express to others. So that was extremely important for me. So, the next thing I did mention already, your environment should inspire you to get up with purpose every day.

The next thing is your environment should speak life and hope it shouldn’t look like your life is a pandemic. This pandemic has come and changed so much about our lifestyle and what we do and even like our careers and the method of operation it’s just to change a lot. I have a mentee this year, she started experimenting with planes. So, she’s like all about this plant mom wife now, and I pick with her, I do because I support you. So, when I first came to the states back in February, I stayed with her, and she warned me. She said I have some plants, I’m all about that plant life. I’m like, that’s good.

I think she has one or two like little plants or something like that. So, I see in her room, and one of her like little nooks. And I saw some greenery. And I’m like, that’s cute. That’s really nice. She was like, no, did you see the rest? What do you mean? I said.

She was like, go around the corner. She got a whole greenhouse and this apartment, I don’t understand how she has like this whole grid like she has a green thumb now, she has turned this place into like a little forest. But I can honestly say, when I walk into her place, or when I see this, I see life, like her environment communicates life and growth to me, something as small as putting a plant, if plant life is your thing, go, Hey, I support you as well. A little artificial plant. Because with me, Little Shop of Horrors, I don’t have a green thumb because I don’t have time for it. I don’t have time to cultivate, I’m moving from place to place to place. So that’s not for me. But kudos to you. And kudos to her if that’s your thing.

But you have to get something in your environment that’s going to communicate life. That’s going to communicate hope, you want it to speak those things to you. And lastly, intentional environmental communication is an investment in your present as well as your future. You have to be intentional about what you want your environment wants to say. Like how do you want it to speak to you? For me? I have affirmations on my wall. I typed them up and I printed them off. I sent them to Walgreen, had it made into a poster, put it around, put it in a frame and I put it on my wall.

Why? Because I need my environment to speak life to me. I need my environment to remind me that even though I am I am grinding in my potential; I am still full speed ahead to my purpose. So yeah, I’m not at home. But I made this a heaven for me. This is my childhood home. This is my home right now. But the way how I have my home set up in China, when I walk in it, it’s complete light is just bright. I have stuff right around like big windows, open windows, I have things in there that communicate.

This is your safe place. When you come from teaching four or five classes a day, you come home and you get to relax and you get to focus on whatever creative production you want to do next, you get to come home and just sit down and watch TV and Chinese if you want to. Like my environmental space is conducive for me to be at peace, relax, and also be hospitable. Because I have colleagues who come over quite often just so we can talk about work. But they come over quite often. And I’ll cook and we’ll just have a great conversation.

I know that God has called me to do something really special. I don’t know what that is yet because he hasn’t given me all the details but he’s given me the sort the resources and the tools. So, I made sure that when I wake up in the morning, I have a space and environment that communicate creative productivity. I have a space that communicates life and hope I have an environment that communicates to me. No procrastination today, less accomplishes every task that we set up. So, you got to be intentional, okay? You don’t have to do anything big; you don’t have to do like my mentee and grow a full garden. You can just go buy one plant if that’s your thing.

Or you can create drawings. Canvas is just different things. I mean, it’s something small, something simple that can change the way your environment communicates to you first, because that’s the most important thing and then how it communicates to others.

So, I have a little communication challenge for you.  Our communication challenge for this week is of course dealing with environmental communication. What can you do to your environment to improve what it says to you? And about you? I want you to think about that you know, let’s be intentional about our communication, and let’s inherit positivity you know, influence people to live and to dream and no one wants more than this for themselves. How do you want to feel when you wake up? How do you want to feel when you walk into your classroom? Probably not yet, because I think you guys are teaching online. But how do you want to feel when you walk into your office, or when you even if it’s a cubicle, you can still have your environment adjusted in a way, whether it’s small or big, you can have it adjusted in a way that it really does speak positively to you. And then what do you want it to say about you? How do you want it to be expressed? The next thing is to start small if you can’t go big, as I said before if you can’t grow a full garden, like my mentee, start with one plant, if plants are your thing, if not, you know put up a poster, put up a canvas, change your lights, do something clean.

For some of you, it might not even be adding anything, it might be taking things away, it might be that you need to clean the clutter, throw some stuff out, stop being a hoarder, get rid of some things, and move on instead of it just looking all cluttery and stuff, clean it up. That might be what it is. And then I want you to snap some pictures of the changes. First, we’re starting with our environment, we’re going to go through so many other channels of communication. But the first one is with our environment, what it says to us. And what it says about us. That’s your communication challenge.

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