Speech Lessons from FDR’s Fireside Chats: Give Fewer Speeches to Have Greater Impact

Christopher Witt —  October 14, 2014 — 1 Comment

In 1933 Franklin Roosevelt, the newly elected President of the United States, faced a daunting situation. A fearful nation was four years into its worst-ever depression.

To win popular support for his proposed social and economic reforms, he gave a radio address to the nation in March of that year. He explained his ideas in a casual, but comprehensive way. He came across as warm and friendly.

His address became known as a fireside chat. It was so popular that his advisors recommended he repeat the format every week.

He refused. He reasoned that speaking so often would lessen his impact. He did not want people to grow tired of hearing from him.

Although Roosevelt is perhaps best known for his fireside chats, he gave only 30 of them in 11 years.

Lesson Learned:
To influence and inspire your audience – your employees, customers, constituents, the general public – invest yourself fully into your speeches, but give fewer of them to have a greater impact.

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Christopher Witt

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Chris Witt was born in Los Angeles, California. He currently lives in San Diego. He works as a speech and presentations consultant, an executive speech coach, and an orals coach.

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  1. Speech Lessons from FDR's Fireside Chats: Give ... - October 15, 2014

    […] In 1933 Franklin Roosevelt, the newly elected President of the United States, faced a daunting situation. A fearful nation was four years into its worst-ever depression. To win popular support for his proposed social and economic reforms, he gave a radio address to the nation in March of that year. He explained his ideas in …  […]

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