It’s an honor to welcome new instructor, Greg Germann, to the Design Communication Arts program! Greg is an actor known for his work on film, television and Broadway. He’s a published playwright and has also written and directed for the theatre and television. He was honored to be invited twice be part of a goodwill trip traveling to Afghanistan to visit troops serving there. For over a decade he has had the privilege of serving on the Board of Directors for OPCC (now OPCC-LAMP) in Los Angeles, a visionary social service organization. For the past three years, he’s worked with TEDx UCLA as an advisor, assisting in speaker selection and preparation for the annual conference.
Greg is teaching Talking With Impact this winter.
What brought you to this field?
For the past three years I’ve helped prepare a range of speakers for the annual TED TALK held at UCLA. I’ve been able to work with artists, psychologists, archeologists, designers, activists and more, conceiving, crafting and honing their talks for the greatest impact.
Tell us about an especially rewarding project you’ve worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.
My work with TED speakers has made it clear that there are no limitations for what constitutes a ‘big idea’ that can change the world. TED speakers have talked about vulnerability, the brain, the heart, education, travel, planting trees, running, sleep, consciousness, what makes us laugh and cry and even life and death. It’s exciting to embrace the possibility that ‘ideas worth spreading’ take any shape and can be about any thing.
Why is your course, Talking for Impact, important for my Design education?
Everyone has a ‘TALK’ in them. The skills necessary in communicating these ideas makes all the difference. Using the model of a TED TALK is a powerful tool that will unearth the ‘big idea’ that lies in wait for each student in our class. As an actor, director and writer with a career in theatre, film and television my experience has taught me again and again that economy and empathy are just a few keys to connecting with and moving an audience.
The intentional weaving of passion, expertise and innovation insures that an entrepreneur pitching a new product, an archeologist sharing field observations, a designer promoting the value of a concept, a writer selling an idea, a lawyer making his/her case, an educator broadening a students understanding all will succeed in moving their listeners and changing their lives. I’ve seen the surprising impact speakers have on an audience when the idea expressed is concise and challenges the experts while still being understandable to a 5th grader. Speaking with impact results in provoking understanding and upending the expectations of your listener.
We’ll start simply and work our way to the ‘big idea’ that lies in wait for each student. The first step is recognizing the ‘big ideas’ that we encounter everyday. From the brilliance of a bumper sticker, a political slogan, branding, the power of a provocative 140 character Twitter post and even the unexpected impactful daily exchanges we have with our colleagues, friends and family. Students will identify these common examples illustrating how they meet the criteria, not just of a catchy slogan, but how they upend expectations, innovate and promote an idea worth sharing.
Do you have a sample assignment?
The Wisdom of the Twitter Feed:
In 140 characters or less articulate the “big idea” behind three varied areas of study or endeavor. Topics may range from, artworks; visual, performing arts and literature: To design; architecture, engineering and product design: To science and even the value of certain types of behaviors. Some of the most popular TED TALKS online are on the value of vulnerability, the power of introverts and the science of happiness.
One example is a devoted runner asked; Can running save our cities? His answer was his big idea; Building community with shared physical activity can change the world. The skill to articulate your vision in a sentence is one of the many tests of the viability and clarity of your vision.
Enroll in Talking With Impact today!