What Are The Benefits Of Fireside Chats?

Jack Hayes Official Author Picture
5 minutes to read
Fireside Chat

According to Britannica, fireside chats were first introduced in the 1930s by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who wanted to chat directly with the American people. The format has since become a unique approach to engaging audiences at corporate events. Comprised of an interviewer and interviewee, the goal of a fireside chat is to answer the most relevant questions to those in attendance. More unpredictable and on-the-spot than a traditional speech, they aim to provoke experiential stories alongside direct and practical advice through a conversational style.


How to Hire a Fireside Chat Speaker

With The Motivational Speakers Agency, hiring a speaker for your fireside chat could not be easier. Our team have organised thousands of events and have perfected the process. Start by contacting a booking agent, then select your desired speaker and sign the necessary paperwork. Your dedicated representative will then contact the speaker and secure them for your fireside chat! 

5 Benefits of Organising a Fireside Chat

Discover the many benefits of organising a fireside chat in our latest expert guide. To hire your fireside chat speaker, start by speaking to a member of our team through our online contact form.  

1. Planned Unpredictability

Born, in many ways, out of fiery debates brought on by shows such as Question Time and the back and forth we see on PMQ, fireside chats can be unpredictable. But unpredictable doesn't have to mean unprepared. The speaker will likely have a story up their sleeve for all discussion topics.

Sometimes, though, a question can take a speaker by surprise, making the whole event seem like more of a live spectacle. Whether it is an off-the-cuff comment or a crafty one-liner, the unpredictability is pure theatre, something that just isn't the same on YouTube.

2. Complete Control 

It may sound like a juxtaposition now after what we just said about unpredictability, but we promise it is not. While the beauty of on-the-spot answers adds to the unpredictable nature of a fireside chat, the truth is the interviewer has control over it. They decide how it pans out, ensuring key points are discussed.

In essence, the interviewer knows what they want the speaker to say, and they know more or less the answer they wish to receive. This is effective on talk shows, where hosts will be given notes on discussion topics, and the guest will come well-prepared with an answer. Win/win.

Fireside Chat

3. Intimate Connections

The drip of sweat, the 'should I/shouldn't I?', the stutter on the microphone. What audience member doesn't want to be part of that? Whether plucking up the courage to ask a question on the microphone or merely Tweeting one for the host to ask for them can make an audience member feel truly involved in the conversation.

With a question designed by an audience member, they will feel the answer is more relevant and even personal, and others will buzz off it too. Audience participation is central to a fireside chat's purpose.

4. A Bigger Pool of Talent

At The Motivational Speakers Agency, we know better than most that not all high-profile sports stars, politicians and business leaders have an extraordinary speech ready to reel off at a moment's notice. We also acknowledge that it can take weeks and often months to work on.

Who has the time? This is where the Q&A style is ideal for events. Essentially, you are broadening the talent pool available. Anyone who wants to can participate in a fireside chat and will likely feel honoured you chose them for yours. Better talent means a bigger audience; a bigger audience means a better return.

Our top pick of fireside chat speakers include Alex Gregory, the multi-Gold medal winner, and Mandy Hickson, the second woman to ever fly a Tornado GR4. View our full range of fireside chat speakers to find your perfect interviewee!

5. Audience Interaction

Point of view is everything. There is little to take from an event if an interviewer is too focused on getting the right answers. Letting the speaker drift is hugely important for allowing the speaker to relax and speak freely about their experiences.

Asking leading questions, attached to the original line of questioning, can lead to the most honest answers - so make sure you find an interviewer who can think on their feet. Remember, it is a three-way conversation and not a one-way monologue.

The more selfless your interviewer is, the better they will be; it is not about them but about making the speaker look good and identifying with the audience. Using phrases such as: "like many of you" or "we all know…" serves two important purposes, to allow your audience to feel involved and to show that you recognise that they, too, are experts in their field.

Book a Fireside Chat Speaker

If a fireside chat is something that you would like to host, you can have a look at our guide on how to organise a fireside chat.

Here at The Motivational Speakers Agency, we have many fireside chat speakers. Contact us by filling in our online contact form or by calling a booking agent directly on 0207 0787 876 to book today.

Jack Hayes Official Author Picture

After graduating from his role as a celebrity sales executive to sales manager, Jack Hayes was appointed as a Director of The Motivational Speakers Agency in 2012, becoming a founding member of the European Association of Speakers Bureaux (EASB) in 2013. In his seven years as a company director, Jack has led projects for clients that include Vodafone, Credit Suisse, The Economic Times’ Global Business Summit, British Airways, the Abu Dhabi Global Financial Markets Forum (GFMF), HSBC, Lad Bible and the NHS, in addition to media collaborations with the likes of Metro, The Leicester Mercury, Sky Sports and ITV. Jack has also used his influence to convince the world’s top speakers to choose The Motivational Speakers Agency. He has built relationships with the minds behind global success stories including Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard; former Google MD Dan Cobley and global adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes. With all the speaking opportunities that Jack has facilitated, there is one that stands out above all others as his proudest. When he began as a sales executive, there was one man Jack wanted to book as a speaker more than any other - Apple’s innovative Creative Director, Ken Segall. In 2019, Ken Segall is due to speak at our very own networking event, at London’s iconic skyscraper, Searcys at the Gherkin, proving just how committed Jack is to reaching his lofty aspirations.

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