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Harvard DCE

Steven D. Cohen is a leading expert on persuasive communication and effective presentation skills. He is an accomplished scholar and dynamic trainer who has brought research-based insights to clients in a wide range of industries. Cohen is well known for helping leaders and professionals speak with authority, confidence, and influence. He has been quoted in publications such as the Financial Times, Slate, Huffington Post, Inc., and New York Magazine and was featured in the BBC Radio documentary, Churchill’s Secret Cabinet. Cohen is currently an instructor at the Harvard Division of Continuing Education and has a faculty appointment at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

Cohen is president of Summit Presentations, LLC, a boutique training company that helps managers and individual contributors communicate their ideas with influence. Based on the latest research, Cohen and his team design corporate training programs that dramatically improve employees’ communication and leadership skills. Prior to starting the company, he served as managing director of the Oral Communication Program at the University of Maryland, and as an assistant professor at the University of Baltimore. Cohen also spent several years working in the private sector. He was an assistant vice president and team leader at Bank of America and later became a senior strategy consultant at IBM Global Business Services. In addition, Cohen was the founder and chairman of Friends for Life of America, a nonprofit organization that improves the quality of life for pediatric cancer patients and their families. Under his leadership, the organization distributed hats, holiday cards, and teddy bears to patients in almost every state and more than 30 countries.

Cohen’s scholarly interests include persuasive speaking, workplace presentations, and public speaking training. He is particularly interested in the use of experiential exercises and technology-based approaches to help promote effective speaking skills. Cohen’s work has appeared in national and international publications, including College Teaching, Communication Teacher, The International Journal of Listening, Listening Education, Relevant Rhetoric, and Toastmaster magazine. He has presented his research at top-tier academic conferences, such as the National Communication Association Convention, the International Listening Association Convention, and the Association of American Colleges & Universities Annual Meeting. Cohen is the author of two books, Public Speaking: The Path to Success and Lessons from the Podium: Public Speaking as a Leadership Art. He is also the editor of Speaking for Success: Readings and Resources, a collection of essential articles on the art of public speaking.

Cohen earned a PhD in communication from the University of Maryland, a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, summa cum laude, from the University of Florida. He is the recipient of many awards and honors, including the Dean’s Commendation for Distinguished Teaching at Harvard Extension School, and the Outstanding Teaching Award from the University of Maryland Department of Communication. More recently, Cohen earned Advanced Toastmaster and Competent Leader designations from Toastmasters International.

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