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How to Write a Eulogy

Writing a Eulogy

Writing and delivering a eulogy or remembrance speech can seem daunting. In addition to the grief and sorrow you're already feeling as you cope with the loss of a loved one, you must find the time to organize your thoughts, put them down on paper, and deliver your speech–all within the fairly compressed timeframe between the death and the funeral or memorial service." All too true: there's not a great deal of time to prepare. He offers these suggestions to make your job of writing easier:

  • Develop a eulogy that you can deliver in only a few minutes. "The truth is that the longer you speak, the more likely you will ramble and make listeners feel awkward or uncomfortable."
  • Keep things personal. He tells readers "Listeners will not find your eulogy moving if you merely recite a list of dry facts...instead, share a story that actually illustrates something your loved one enjoyed, especially if you were also a part of that story."
  • Keep the eulogy positive. "If the deceased was a difficult person or led a troubled life, then just trust that those in the audience already know that and that it's not your job to break the news to them."
  • Keep it conversational. "...speak in a conversational tone -- as if you were simply talking to a family member or friend. In addition, remember to look up at your listeners from time to time and make eye contact. Doing so will help your delivery feel more like a conversation, and you will be less likely to rush through the eulogy and deliver it in a monotone voice."

Being Confident in Your Presentation   

Certainly preparation and practice both go a long way in helping you in delivering a eulogy at a loved one's funeral or memorial service. Here are two of their recommendations:

  • Engage with the audience. This can make you feel less isolated, and also helps to keep everyone involved with your message. If appropriate, share moments of humor and encourage other people to participate to whatever degree is possible.
  • Avoid reading your eulogy word-for-word. It may be best for you to make a list of important points on cue cards or a single sheet of paper; giving you a framework upon which to base your remarks without tying you down to speaking every single word on the page. Here's something else we've learned over the years: you'll want to make your eulogy (or these abbreviated notes) easy to read. Print in large type, and write on every second or third line.

 

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