A guide to writing eulogies

writing eulogiesEulogies can be sprung upon people very close to ceremonies or even at the ceremony itself. While it’s not ideal and while it doesn’t happen frequently, it does happen. This guide is for both those who have been given a little time to prepare and for those who have had little or no time.

For those who are minutes or even seconds away from delivering a eulogy.

I Introduce yourself. Keep it brief.

F Talk about his or her relationship with Family and Friends

A Introduce Achievements and Anecdotes

M Say how they will be Missed

A way of remembering this if you are really struggling is “If Am”, it may sound silly but this could help you remember the key points of introduction, friends and family, achievements and anecdotes and how the deceased will be missed. Some of the most heartfelt and well delivered speeches are done off the cuff so don’t stress too much.

For those with a little more time to prepare.

1. Learn how long you will be expected to speak for

Practice and timing are important in eulogies as they are in any speech. Knowing how long the speech will be and filling out the time or cutting is important as the plan for the day may be tight. Practice will help achieve this and will also help you work on your delivery.

2. Find out where the speech will be delivered

This can make all the difference especially when it comes places of worship where specific sensitivities need to be considered. It can also be relevant as there may be an opportunity to expand on the traditional eulogy with a little multimedia like photos and videos. Eulogies can be recounted at any stage of the funeral process so make sure you know when you’re up.

3. Be positive and tell stories

Use the “If Am” template to help you through here. Remember that many people freeze when the topic of public speaking comes up but their really is nothing to fear. Just stay calm and remember the good and funny times you spent with that person. The ideas will come out so just relax and don’t force it.Take a look at the persons possessions and talk to their friends and family for inspiration.

4. Be very sensitive

Remember that you are talking to a very mixed audience which has different views of the deceased person. Try not to spill any secrets, offend anyone or just generally belittle the occasion. Bear in mind you may have a shorthand with the deceased person, however others may not share this.

For those expected to detail the persons life events please see the page on obituaries which will give some ideas and tips.

Final thoughts

Eulogies can be intimidating as the atmosphere can be highly charged, filled with emotion or just so sombre that its hard to actually get across what you want to say. The audience knows that this can be a challenge, indeed many of them may have done the task themselves. Don’t worry even if you stumble a little, this is natural and as long as it’s done in good faith any mishaps or errors will be swiftly forgotten.

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