How Not to Ruin a Good First Impression

I was quoted in an article on Inc.com about 18 things to avoid saying to make a good first impression. Here is an excerpt: “Um” or “Uh” Those are filler words that we often utter either in the beginning of a sentence or in-between ideas. It’s a, “hold” word. And while these words are commonly found in everyday conversations, Steven D. Cohen, an award-winning speaker who leads career and academic workshops on public speaking at Harvard Extension School, argues that “they often detract from the listener’s ability to understand a...

Can’t Stop Saying “Um” or “Uh”? You’re Not Alone …

I was quoted in a popular article in Quartz on learning how to use filler words better. (UPDATE: My comments on filler words also were published in New York Magazine and Lifehacker.) Here is an excerpt: This is not a new phenomenon (the earliest use has been dated back to 1469), and it’s not exclusive to the English language. Filler words “appear in every language and every culture,” says Steven D. Cohen, an assistant professor of communication at the University of Baltimore. The English um, for example, has a Korean equivalent, eum and a French counterpart, euh. According to Cohen, people...

The Secret to Stop Saying “Um” and Other Filler Words

I was interviewed for an article in BBC News on eliminating filler words in business conversations and meetings. Here is an excerpt: “We are so comfortable with our own vocal tendencies that we often overlook them,” said Steven Cohen, assistant professor of communication at the University of Baltimore in the US … Learn to diagnose your own “filler word hotspots” to better anticipate the changes you need to make to your speech, Cohen said. Often, people use fillers at the beginning or end of a sentence or while transitioning from one thought to the next, he explained. Being especially mindful of...

Body Language and Communication in the Presidential Race

I was interviewed for an article in Baltimore Magazine on the impact of communication and body language in the presidential race. Here is an excerpt: Carson’s soft-spoken, “low-key” demeanor, derided by some, and regularly by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, a conservative former GOP Florida congressman, and Trump, of course, is often mistaken for a lack of leadership ability, according to the University of Baltimore’s Steven D. Cohen. “Carson says his soft-spokenness is a strength, not a weakness and that’s a quote I’ve clipped out and shared with my students,” Cohen says. “I was baffled for a while...

Speak Up: Why You Should Take a Public Speaking Class

I was interviewed for an article in Slate on the importance of taking a public speaking class. As Nicholas Duchesne (who took one of my courses) explains in the article, “a public speaking class can help you land a job or deliver a punch line.” Here is an excerpt: “Public speaking affects your academic, personal, and professional lives,” says Steven D. Cohen, a communications professor at the University of Baltimore who has also taught at the University of Maryland and Harvard. He is proof of the poise that training in public speaking can provide. No ums, uhs, or likes dilute his...

Presenting Like a Pro: 7 Tips for Powerful Public Speaking

I offer some tips and tricks on speaking like a pro in the December issue of Student Health 101. Here is an excerpt of the article: Nail-biting? Check. Unavoidable? Check. Public speaking is likely in your future, whether you’ll be making a classroom presentation to your peers, giving a speech in an auditorium, or introducing a public event. Developing presentation skills enhances your academic, personal, and career opportunities (and also protects your nails). To learn more, read “Like a Pro: 7 Tips for Powerful Public Speaking.” Be sure to check out the feature on...