A speech template, by Ambrose Bierce

Smack in the middle of a session at the Speechwriters and Executive Communicators Conference earlier this month, my body was briefly inhabited by Ambrose Bierce—believe me, I was as surprised as you are—and I watched in horror as my hand scrawled the following template for the typical corporate speech.

Thank you for that flaccid introduction. I should have written it better myself.

It was a big favor to come here and a tremendous chore to get here, and still, I’m astonishingly nervous to be here.

Nervous, because, I know full well, and so do you, that what I like to talk about, you don’t really care about, and what you really care about, I have nothing new to say about.

So I’m relying on a combination of your native conventionality and cowardice, and hoping groupthink outstrips the mob mentality for long enough that I may get out of here with my life.

[Insert 4,500 Words Here.]

Thanks for listening, and now it is my social duty to condescend to answer some of your passive-aggressive gripes disguised as questions.

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