The Eyes Have It, Communication Expert Tells Audience

Daley coaching students

Kevin Daley (left) coaches senior Duryea Leftwich on his public speaking skills during the 2012 Global Capitalism Distinguished Speaker Series, sponsored by BB&T. Daley emphasized to the audience the importance of projecting confidence, sincerity and enthusiasm.

Projecting the intangible—confidence, sincerity and enthusiasm—is the key to successful communication in the corporate world. That was Kevin Daley's message Tuesday, April 3, as featured speaker at the Radford University Global Capitalism Distinguished Speaker Series, sponsored by BB&T.

Daley, a past vice president at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency and founder of the communications consultant group Communispond, told faculty, staff and students from the College of Business and Economics (COBE), "The number one goal of business is to keep a business going. That is what makes capitalism hum. Persuasion makes that happen."

Daley coached the audience on how to project those intangibles. With help from student volunteers Taylor Bikowski and Mike Davidson, he gave public speaking tips drawn from 30 years of experience in which he has coached more than 600,000 executives.

Daley demonstrated how to step away from the lectern and use voice, stance, gestures and eye contact with the audience to "cross space with their thoughts and tell them energetically and with impact."

The goal of communication is a connection with other human beings that makes the world a better place, Daley said. "The only way a speaker can touch each individual is with the eyes. Making eye contact is the most essential rule of public speaking because the connection adds life to the speaker and the audience."

Daley cited survey results showing that most people fear public speaking more than death. He encouraged his listeners to work on their speaking skills until the podium is part of their lives. In the real world, he said, speakers are often judged by their looks and sound more than their message and ideas. He urged the group to accept that irony and practice "so that listeners can see what you believe and how well you express it."

Daley's talk, titled "Persuasion: The Force that Makes Capitalism Hum," is the fourth in the 2012 Global Capitalism Distinguished Speaker Series, an ongoing project between BB&T and COBE to stimulate thought and discussion about capitalism, the tenets of free enterprise and the best practices of successful organizations.

Daley also spoke Tuesday as part of Radford University School of Communication's third annual Communication Week. The weeklong series of events included seminars, workshops and presentations by Carole Tarrant, editor of the Roanoke Times; Marty Smith '98, NASCAR reporter for ESPN; and Professor Steve Jackson of Central Washington University.