Writing a proper eulogy can take a toll on someone’s emotional wellbeing. Recalling all the memories of the person who is no longer here can either make you cry or smile. Your strong relationship with the deceased could be the reason why people around you urge you to go up and speak a few words at the funeral service.
There is no “right” or “wrong” way to process and express your emotions when someone you love dearly has died. Your experience with the person you are honouring is your own and is unique to you. Here are some tips that will help you pour those memories into your eulogy:
Understand Your Audience
How your eulogy will perform depends greatly on the audience. The people who will be listening to the eulogy are family, relatives and friends of the deceased who would still be in mourning. It is best to keep the eulogy positive and respectful to keep in tone with the grieving funeral attendees. Avoid any that would be considered too sensational and controversial. You want to keep in mind that the stories that you tell shouldn’t be offensive to others in the audience. Do not tell jokes during the eulogy speech. Even if the deceased would have cracked up at the funny comment, grieving family and friends might not appreciate an ill-timed comment. You can always include some amusing stories which how they lived and enjoyed life.
Tone is Everything
The reception of your speech depends heavily upon what tone you use. A funeral or a memorial service is a sombre event, but the stories don’t have to be. If you want to keep your story light-hearted, choose a story that is appropriate for the crowd. A good way to make the audience feel included and keep the tone light-hearted is if you include prominent character traits that everyone will recognise. Make sure that any light-hearted or funny recollection is not offensive to anyone present there. Keeping the tone light-hearted can also uplift the mood of the attendees. If you want to keep the tone neutral and serious, keep the stories positive and do not include matters that will shock or upset the attendees.
The Basics are important.
Before you start with your eulogy, you must introduce yourself and your relationship with the deceased. Unless you are the spouse or the immediate family of the deceased, a lot of people might not be aware of your connection with them. For example, if you are attending a funeral of a close colleague, it is best to introduce yourself before you start your eulogy.
A Good Story to Tell.
A good story can be a great way to express yourself. Storytelling is a delicate art. When used correctly, it can uplift the mood of others or even make a grieving person smile. During a eulogy, the story you narrate holds a lot of power. It is best to select a story that highlights the good nature of the person who has passed away. Select a story that reminds people of their lovable eccentricities. Avoid selecting stories that have a negative connotation. Make sure that the story you choose doesn’t offend or trigger anyone.
How to Deliver A Eulogy?
Pen your Words
It is difficult to speak from your heart when so many eyes are on you. It can be nerve-wracking, especially if you are not used to public speaking. Memorising a speech can also be difficult during such a short time. It is completely acceptable if you read out your speech word for word. Writing your eulogy also helps you note any errors you might have made. Speaking completely from your mind and improvising along the way is a skill that not everyone has. Writing your eulogy down is the best way to deal with the anxiety of delivering the speech.
Short and Simple
When you are talking about someone you love, time seems to fly. During the funeral service, keeping your speech short and sweet is a great choice. You might wonder, what is the appropriate length? How long is too much? Although there is no set rule, try to keep the speech between 5-7 minutes. If it runs long, keep it to a maximum of 10 minutes. If possible, ask someone you know to give you signals for your time limit.
Practice makes Perfect
Once you have penned down your eulogy speech, the next thing to do is to read the speech out loud. Do it a couple of times. While delivering a eulogy speech, you may feel nervous or anxious. You might even get emotional over the stories you are reminiscing. If you practice your speech a couple of times, you can get that out of your system. Knowing the eulogy speech inside out will also help with your nerves.
Maintain Eye contact and find your pace
Our nerves can get the better of us while delivering a speech. We often tend to speak fast and look down when we are anxious. Keep your head up so the audience can see you speaking. Pace yourself when you are delivering a eulogy. A eulogy is an emotional speech. It is best to pace yourself to avoid sounding like a newscaster. Take deep breaths in between and enunciate. Make sure you sound clear. Don’t shy away from making eye contact. You can often connect with the audience when you look at the audience. You can even find support from someone in the audience. Pause in between if you feel like you are going a bit uptempo.
Inhale and Exhale
You might feel like giving a eulogy is too much pressure. If you feel the anxiety building up, you will need to breathe first. You might be feeling emotional or anxious, but the first thing you need to remind yourself is that everyone here is feeling something similar. Calm your nerves before starting. You have so far. Your words have the power to soothe. The people around you are also hurting from the loss of a loved one.
A Eulogy speech does not have to be this difficult. At the end of the day, you can speak what your heart desires. Stay true to yourself when you speak about your loved one who is no longer here. You can create an impactful speech with our tips and honour the deceased.