"Our strategic plan," the speaker began, "is to make the city safer... improve the quality of life." He went on to address issues of crime, senior citizen needs, funding and the difficulty of accomplishing goals: "Through Vision Zero we are..."
More gracious audience members were paying careful attention; this writer had veered off into the fantasy of creating a template for The Fail-Safe Public Speech. Why not?
President Obama, after all, had just delivered a couple of important speeches on critical issues, and how many people were really listening? Most of us were mentally hitting the tab bar and catching the pertinent lines (or waiting for the pundits, who were doing the same thing) to say what was really said.
In the interest of saving a lot of people a lot of time (and with apologies to the truly articulate and interesting speaker at a recent San Francisco Interfaith breakfast) a free, fill-in-the-blank outline is submitted here:
My fellow ______________.
I want to call your attention to the urgent status of our__________________, and in doing so, explain the need for immediate _____________.
The action we are undertaking will insure your future ________, __________, and ________, and your children's ____________.
I hope you will keep all of these in mind as I outline our strategy, which includes strengthening our __________ in order to keep us all _________ and improve the quality of __________.
But it is not without cost. Our estimates for the ___ months/years ahead are $______________.
We know this requires sacrifice on your part. Knowing also of your _______, ______, and dedication to the cause of ________________, however, we do not hesitate.
You have my personal guarantee that _________ will prevail.
Thank you for your support.