The Cohen-Miller Report: Tough Talk

Communicating with Conviction

by Emily Cohen

Taylor Mali is a slam poet with a great and humorous message on communicating with conviction. My 10th grade son shared this YouTube video recently with me that I find quite relevant and inspirational. It is all about speaking strongly and demonstrating confidence through language and voice.

Often effective communication is as much about how you say something as what you say. Taylor’s engaging words, “it is not enough to question authority, you have to speak with it too”, resonates with my own recommendations. This style is particularly successful with conflict-related communications, such as negotiations.

If your communication style is hesitant or shows lack of confidence. then the content of what you are saying can be impacted, become diffused, and, ultimately, is less successful. Taylor reiterates the underlying message in these types of communications: “I’m like inviting you to join me on the bandwagon of my own uncertainty.”

Take a moment to think about how you say something as much as you think about what you say and the final message will ring loud and clear.

Emily has consulted with design firms and in-house corporate creative departments for over twenty years. During this time, she has provided confidential, best-practice insights and advice. She helps creatie teams improve operational effectiveness and helps companies build efficient teams and processes.

Emily currently serves on the board of advisors of InSource and on the AIGA In-House task force. Emily has also served as Secretary for the AIGA/NY Board of Directors and has taught classes and conducted seminars for many leading design schools and organizations. Emily is a frequently-requested speaker on business-related issues for the creative industry. Learn more at and