Giving a meaningful, moving eulogy can be a nerve-wracking situation for even the most accomplished public speaker, but it need not be. How can you summarize someones life in a few short minutes, while being both respectful and funny at the same time? Writing and delivering a eulogy is a therapeutic tool to help deal with your grief, and being chosen to give a eulogy is an honor and should be treated that way. Below are some tips for writing and delivering a eulogy.
Talk with family members, close friends and co-workers to get important information on the deceased. Some important information to include in the eulogy is the persons family and other close relationships, their education/career, hobbies or special interests, places the person lived or traveled to, and any special accomplishments they had.
Organize Your Thoughts
Jot down your ideas by whatever means are most comfortable and familiar to you. Create an outline of your speech, and fill in the information that you gathered about the person.
Write it Down
This is not a toast at a wedding where you can make off the cuff remarks, and you should not ad-lib a eulogy. Writing it all down allows you to include and remember every detail you wanted in your eulogy. When you bring a copy of your eulogy to the podium make sure it is easy to read, print it out in a large font, or if it is hand-written leave a few spaces between the lines. Keep in mind things on the short side, especially if there are other speakers.
Review and Revise
Your first draft should not be the last. When you think you are done, sleep on it and look over it in the morning when it is fresh again, that is the time to make any necessary revisions.
The most natural speaker is he/she who has taken time to practice and become familiar with the content. Use a mirror family member or friend for feedback and practice until you can recite it without making it look like you are reading from a script.
It is common for eulogies to be humorous. This can be a fantastic way for families to grieve as they fondly remember a story about the person. Laughter is truly the best medicine. However, it is important to remember that you are not there to roast them. Your audience is likely to be mixed with both grand parents and children so keep the humor appropriate to your audience. Not every funny story may be best for this occasion.
Finally funerals are extremely emotional. No one expects your eulogy to be an emotionless talk. It is OK to shed a few tears, but have a back-up plan if you suspect that it may be too emotional for you to deliver it. A trusted friend or family member could be a good option to deliver the eulogy if emotion overtakes you. Give them a copy in advance if you feel performing the eulogy could be too much for you.