Giving a Eulogy
Speaking at a funeral or memorial service is difficult. You must deal with your own grief while communicating what is in your heart. Here are some pointers:
- Write out the speech and practice it using an outline. You may need more detailed notes than usual, in case you are overcome with emotion.
- Like any speech, use two or three main points, no more.
- The speech should not be a chronology of someone’s life, but rather a tribute to their life. Let the audience know why the person was special.
- Don’t attempt to speak for everyone who knew the person. Share your own feelings.
- Focus on the deceased person’s personality, including funny quirks and memorable events. The most meaningful anecdotes are heartfelt and personal.
- Begin with a pause, to get control over your emotions. Take a deep breath and count silently to yourself: “one-one thousand, two-one thousand,” etc.
- Inspire the audience. No one likes to deal with death, but it is inevitable. Help the audience deal with feelings of insecurity and mortality and help them improve their outlook on life.
- Use appropriate mannerisms. The somber atmosphere of a memorial service does not lend itself to dramatic gestures and dazzling special effects.
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