How to write a good eulogy

Writing the perfect eulogy is a tough business, especially when you want to do justice to a loved one. These tips will help guide you in the delicate task.

Writing and delivering a eulogy is rarely a pleasant thing to do. However, when you are called upon to do it, chances are you will want to do the best job you can do in honouring the loved one you have lost. You rarely get extended notice, so it is best to be prepared. Here are some tips.

It’s not a biography

The structure of a eulogy will typically talk through a person’s life. This is a good guide for how to lay out your speech. However, it is important to remember that it is not a biography. Everyone at the funeral is likely to have known the person and their life story, so there is no benefit in parroting it back to them. Instead, you should concentrate on distilling the essence of their personality. Pick out a few bits to talk about that really show what kind of person they were.

Unless they were a complete bastard, in which case you should show a mix of their personality. There is no point denying their faults but focus on their good points also.

Use humour

At my public speaking club, I’m noted for adding humour to any situation. In fact, I used to joke that I thought it was always appropriate, though I hadn’t had a eulogy to try it out at yet. That was years ago, and now I have had a eulogy to try it out at, and still stick by my conviction.

Humour is a wonderful tool for keeping people engaged and breaking the tension. it can bring the mood of a room right up. You might think that a funeral is not the place for a eulogy, but I could not disagree more. You need to use humour to lighten the mood not just in spite of it being a funeral, but because of it. You want to leave attendees with a positive memory of the deceased, not a solemn downcast version.

Tell stories

This goes for any speech, ever. Stories have an emotional attachment. People will quickly forget what you said, but how you made them feel will stick around much longer. Humans love stories. So skip the boring details and lay out your speech out hopping from story to story.

If another member of the family has a lovely story about the deceased, invite them up to give it.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 at 11:00 am and is filed under Public Speaking. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.