Dating back to the 1930’s during U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s tenure, fireside chats are still a valuable way for executives to connect with audiences in an authentic and interactive way.

Of course, a lot has changed since Roosevelt delivered his first fireside chat nearly 100 years ago. Now, these communications are no longer delivered via radio, but virtually via video.

While video has resulted in more opportunities for digital connection, today’s C-suite executives are busier than ever. Finding time to prepare for and participate in virtual discussions can be very challenging. That’s a problem because virtual fireside chats have only grown in popularity in recent years as workforces become more geographically dispersed.

Adding fuel to the fire, the overabundance of digital content made them lose their shine. To make these experiences feel as intimate as they were when Americans first cozied up around the radio to hear Roosevelt’s unprecedented broadcasts, leaders need to continue evolving the medium.

A video creation platform like Socialive enables corporate communications teams to remotely record leaders on their own time, which is critical for coordinating around busy schedules. Plus, intuitive drag-and-drop editing tools make virtual fireside chats more dynamic and engaging than ever — without delaying your timeline.

The value of virtual fireside chats

Virtual fireside chats and interviews have become a staple for business executives who want to be more approachable with employees and promote greater transparency about their business. They use fireside chats to informally share their insights and perspectives on the company or industry.

Virtual fireside chats and interviews give busy executives and companies with geographically distributed or remote workforces a high-impact way to engage with employees, share vital company information, and rally teams with a personal appeal by video, whether recorded and edited or livestreamed.

Virtual fireside chat format

The goal of a fireside chat is to have an organic discussion that feels open and natural rather than scripted or forced. That doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t plan your virtual fireside chat.

Your program should typically include a moderator and one or two guests from your C-suite leadership team. Your moderator can be a member of your corporate communications team or a willing employee from rotating function areas, which can foster inclusion, cross-team collaboration, and transparency.

Often, a virtual fireside chat is delivered in a question and answer format that you develop and share with your moderator and guests in advance as talking points or a discussion guide. These questions can include pre-submitted inquiries from employees. This allows everyone to prepare well in advance so they can be sure to cover the most relevant and impactful information.

The moderator’s role is to help guests feel relaxed and keep the discussion focused. But they can also keep the content engaging by creating rapport and prompting conversation through commentary and follow-up questions.

How to take your virtual fireside chat to the next level

Transformative communication — or the evolution of your communication style to meet shifting needs and ways of working — is critical to the modern workplace. Despite their transition to video, fireside chats are not exempt from continued digital transformation.

As remote work becomes more common, traditional ways of creating video are no longer feasible. Creating content in a studio requires expensive equipment, on-location travel, extensive resources, and months of preparation.

On the other end of the spectrum, meeting platforms like Zoom and Teams don’t provide the quality or production value required to make these programs stand out, let alone meet the branding expectations of the enterprise.

Today’s teams need a solution that provides the quality of a production studio with the ease of use and remote capabilities of a virtual conferencing platform. Socialive sits at exactly that intersection. Our all-in-one cloud video production platform lets organizations:

  • Record up to 4K quality from anywhere — straight from your phone, tablet, browser, or professional camera.
  • Set up templates to mix and match live content, recorded videos, graphics, and screen shares in dynamic layouts with B-roll, music beds, and branded graphics.
  • Manage your guests behind the scenes with your host and guests through a Virtual Green Room to ensure everyone is relaxed and prepared.
  • Boost audience engagement with tools for live quizzes, Q&As, polls, and other interactions with your viewers.
  • Publish simultaneously across channels, including social, digital, conferencing, and event platforms, with one click.
  • Streamline content management with the ability to store and access video in a centralized, secure cloud-based recordings library. No manual file transfer required.
  • Edit your content, then pull audio files and video clips from your recordings for marketing, internal communications, learning and development, corporate training programs, and more, extending the life and value of your content.

Putting it all together

Socialive makes it possible for internal communications teams to scale virtual fireside chats like never before. Internal communications teams can easily:

  1. Develop a content series covering specific topics or themes — like customer stories, employee well-being, or the future of the company — with corresponding questions.
  2. Instruct executives to record their responses to these questions on their own time.
  3. Access the recordings in the organization’s centralized library, trim videos (if needed), and get them ready to edit.
  4. Drag and drop recordings into a layout, add custom branding, lower thirds, and other graphics to make a new video.
  5. Build a run of show ahead of a livestream, complete with recorded content, so employees can ask follow-up questions live, but the executive only needs to worry about being “on air” for a short period of time.
  6. Livestream across preferred channels during the scheduled event time.
  7. Use audience engagement tools to give employees the opportunity to react in real-time, answer polls, and submit questions.
  8. Send the final product to external applications for later viewing or editing with one-click integrations.

Fireside chats continue to offer C-suite executives a valuable way to forge deeper connections with their employees, especially in dispersed workplaces. But, like all modes of communication, they’re still evolving to better meet both audience and speaker needs. A video creation platform like Socialive can help organizations transform virtual fireside chats into the awe-inspiring programs they’re meant to be, without taking up hours of the C-suite’s day.

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