Fire Side Chats

Before I actually begin this post I feel like I have to say welcome! My name is Melissa and this is my blog for my communication class.This first post will be in reply to Jennifer Jones’ (owner of “The Social Marketing Blog) article titled “What FDR Teaches Us About Crisis Communication” . In her article Jones talks about FDR’s fireside Chat specifically his first one and how it changes the American attitude of the time. The Six Steps to Good Communication where not only discussed in the post but applied to that first Fireside chat.

  1. Reach out to your audience where they are; connect with them personally and directly.
    • FDR spoke to them as if he was in the room with them. He kept the chat short, at about 8 minutes and was very conversational, addressing them as “My Friends” instead of politician’s favorite “My fellow American”.
  2. Tell the truth. Speak Honestly and plainly about what happened-what went wrong.
    • He wasn’t wishy-washy with the public. He stated what happened in plain English so that the common person can understand what he was saying. He not only explained the system but pointed out what exactly went wrong.
  3. Explain how you will fix the problem for the short-term; how will you make things right.
    • Pointing out your flaw isn’t going to solve the problem, he needed to offer a short-term solution to fix the issue. In order to do this he had to close the banks, and he identified that this might cause an inconvenience to the general so he addressed that to them, explaining it is a necessary force of action,
  4. Explain how you will ensure the problem will not happen again.
    • Provide a long-term solution for the public to regain their trust. FDR was able to do this with the FDIC who aimed to separate commercial lending from banking.
  5. Tell your listeners what they need to do.
    • This is perhaps the most surprising issue about the chat. FDR was able to successfully convince people to re-deposit their money in the bank. He regained the hope that had been lost not through empty promises but by addressing them as equals and explaining the situation to them
  6.  Follow up with details of how the problem has been or is being resolved.
    • With follow-up fireside chats, he was able to give the public updates. He was also able to use mediums to personally connect with the people

This was almost 80 years ago so why are we still talking about it? Well… history repeats itself and back in 2008 we experienced this little thing called The Great Recession and six years later we are finally overcoming it. In order for struggling companies to continue to service they need to support customer moral and the communication skills can be a very helpful took for them. In order to gain customer trust they need to stop avoiding the issue and be frank. It¬† is this frank attitude that will re-establish our trust. The solution proposed wont mean anything if we can’t understand it so the audience must be identified and taken into consideration. FDR was aiming to discuss the general population, but for smaller companies they might be trying to communicate with higher level executives.

Read the full blog post here: