4 Tips For Delivering A Memorable Eulogy

There's an old joke about how most people would rather be the person in the coffin than the person delivering a eulogy at a funeral. While that's certainly an exaggeration, the fear of public speaking is certainly widespread, affecting up to 75% of the population. That means that if it's your job to deliver a eulogy, there's a good chance that you're pretty nervous about it. However, you can overcome your fears and deliver a memorable eulogy that's a tribute to your loved one. Take a look at a few tips that can help.

Keep It Short and Personal

People are complex, and it would probably take hours to list every single important fact about your loved one. But a eulogy that runs on too long can cause the other mourners to feel bored or uncomfortable, and trying to give a long eulogy will also make you more nervous. Setting a short time limit for yourself will make everyone happier.

Instead of trying to talk about everything that seems relevant to your loved one, focus your speech on one or two personal anecdotes that illustrate something about their life or character. Your loved one may have had many different hobbies, but a personal story about a time that you went fishing with them or traveling with them will have more of an impact than simply listing all of the things that they liked to do.

Stay Conversational

Most of the time, an audience doesn't want to listen to a formal speech any more than a nervous speaker wants to give one. This may be especially true at a funeral. However, both speakers and listeners enjoy a good conversation. Don't try to write a formal, flowery speech. Instead, imagine how you would discuss your deceased loved one with a close friend.

Write your speech as if you were talking to a friend or relative who also knew your loved one and shares your sense of loss. In a way, that's exactly what you're doing. Your eulogy should be your side of that conversation. A conversational tone will help you connect with your listeners and keep you from feeling so nervous. There's a good chance that you've already had plenty of conversations with your friends and family about your deceased loved one before the funeral. Draw on those experiences to write your speech.

Don't Go Off the Cuff

Just because you want to sound conversational doesn't mean that you should go up and ad-lib. It's too easy to lose your train of thought or freeze in the moment. You could end up rambling without a point or lost in an awkward silence.

Even professional speakers use notes or teleprompters to give their speeches, so you should definitely plan on having a written speech to look at. It can help to print your speech in a large font and double space it so that it's easy to scan. That way, you'll be able to find your place again quickly if you lose it.

Don't forget to practice your eulogy in advance as well. Rehearse in front of a trusted friend or in front of a mirror if there's no one else available. Practicing the words ahead of time will ensure that you feel comfortable saying them when the time comes.

Prepare the Podium

Make sure to bring tissues or a handkerchief with you to the podium, or make sure they're up there before you get up to speak. You may also want to stash a bottle of water or a throat lozenge in the area as well.

A eulogy is different from a speech you might give at work or school in that you're more likely to become emotional. Don't be embarrassed by this; it's perfectly natural, and your audience won't mind if you take a minute to compose yourself. Having tissues to wipe your eyes or a bottle of water to help clear a dry throat will give you something to focus on for a minute while you get ready to continue.

The funeral director or officiant can help you plan the schedule of the funeral so that you know how long you have and when the eulogy should be given. That way, you can focus on giving a heartfelt eulogy in memory of your loved one. To learn more, check out websites like http://www.fosterwarnefuneralhome.com.