Let’s talk about how to deliver a eulogy.
A friend or loved one of yours has just passed away. You have been approached and asked to give the eulogy at his or her funeral. Of course you agree to do so; what an honor it would be! While it’s no easy task to write and deliver a eulogy, you are determined to do it, and do it well.
Well, you have come to the right place!
I’m a professional eulogy writer, ready to help you write and deliver your eulogy with confidence and grace. With experience in writing, editing, and the funeral industry, I’m qualified and equipped to help you with your loved one’s eulogy.
Below, I break down into simple steps how to create and also how to deliver a eulogy. I also provide tried-and-true tips for successfully speaking it at the funeral. In just 10 steps, we will be looking at The Preparation of your eulogy, as well as The Oration.
Let’s dive in.
10 Steps for How to Deliver a Eulogy
- Get your thoughts on paper.
- Look up examples of other eulogies.
- Write your rough draft.
- Get feedback from family or friends.
- Practice speaking your eulogy.
- Make a final copy.
- Pick someone to be your support person.
- Take your time.
- Do not worry about crying.
- Do you.
Part I: The Preparation
Before you can present your eulogy, of course you must first prepare it. What should you write about? How long does it have to be? Should you make it serious or add a touch of humor? Let’s take a look.
1. First things first…put it on paper
Take a pen and paper (or your computer or a tablet) and write out all your thoughts. When someone you love very much passes away, your mind is suddenly flooded with memories of them. Some of these memories you may not have thought about in a very long time.
It really helps to transfer these memories from your mind to the paper. It’s easier to get your thoughts in order on paper, and writing can also help relieve the sadness you’re feeling.
2. Look up examples of other eulogies
There are plenty of resources available online with examples of eulogies. There are many famous eulogies as well as those from everyday people, several of which can be found on YouTube.
As a professional eulogy writer, I also have a few examples for you to look over right here. (Click the link, and scroll down to the section in the description that says “Eulogy Examples.”)
3. Write your rough draft
Here’s a simple 4-step plan for writing your eulogy.
- First, briefly introduce yourself. Then follow with a mini biography of your loved one. This can include their birthday, family members, where they were raised, went to school, were married, etc.
- Next, write any positive memories you have of your loved one that you would like to share. Let your audience know who your loved one was (what made them them). What was their life story? How were they around their best friend or significant other? What were their accomplishments, what were they most proud of in life? How did he or she help others?
- After this (which should make up the bulk of the eulogy), it’s time to say “thank you.” Was there a person or community, like a doctor or hospice, who cared for the deceased in their final days? Now is the perfect time in your eulogy to acknowledge them.
- Finally, it’s time to say good-bye. This part of your eulogy will not be easy to write, nor will it be easy to speak. But it’s necessary for not only you, but for your audience to know that your speech is just about over.
Most completed eulogies consist of around 1,000 words, but this is not a rule by any means. With this word count, you can expect for it to take you approximately eight minutes to read.
As for the tone of your eulogy, it can be humorous or serious, or both. You knew your loved one, so you know best what is and isn’t appropriate to honor their legacy. Keep in mind your audience, however… you don’t want to go overboard with humor. Strive for balance.
4. Get feedback on your writing
Once you’ve finished writing your eulogy’s rough draft, ask a trusted friend or family member to look over it. A pair of fresh eyes can locate any grammatical errors or irregularities that you may have overlooked.
5. It’s cliche, but…practice makes perfect (or at least better)
The old saying is that practice makes perfect, but there’s really no such thing as perfect. It’s best not to place this kind of pressure on yourself when you are about to speak at a funeral.
Still, you’ll want to do your best. Practice your eulogy at least a couple of times before the day of the funeral. This will help you tremendously if you are nervous about speaking in front of a large group of people.
Practice does not always make perfect, but it does make better. Say your speech in front of a couple of friends or relatives, or in front of a mirror.
6. Make a final copy
After you’ve put in some practice on your eulogy, it’s time to create the final copy. Write or print it out, and consider making keepsake copies for others who come to the funeral.
As mentioned above, I write eulogies for a living. If all this is just too much for you right now, I am able to help. Please click here to learn more.
Part II: The Oration
Now it’s time to focus on actually delivering this eulogy that you have worked so hard to write.
7. Pick someone to be your support person
Among your trusted family or friends, pick just one who you know will be in attendance at the funeral. Have them sit close to where you will be speaking, and give them a copy of your eulogy.
This way, in the instance that you become emotional or otherwise need help finishing your eulogy, they will be available assist. At the very least this will be someone who you can look at for an encouraging smile.
8. Take your time
When you’re speaking in front of a large group, it can be very tempting to rush through what you’re saying. Of course, rushing can make it difficult for your listeners to follow you, so you’ll want to avoid this.
Speak slowly and be sure to properly enunciate each word. This will keep your audience with you and also keep your eulogy within a proper time frame.
9. How to deliver a eulogy without crying
My number 1 tip for this is…just don’t worry about it! While it’s normal to be hesitant to show emotion in front of others, it’s perfectly fine to. Especially at a funeral. There is not a soul in the room who is going to judge you for tearing up.
That said, practicing your eulogy beforehand can help you to determine where at in your speech you are most likely to become emotional.
Take a deep, refreshing breath before you get to those parts. This can help you to keep your mind clear. Also take a glance at your support person if you have one…eye contact with them can bring you comfort and confidence.
10. Do you!
You know your own comfort levels when it comes to public speaking. Some people are improvisation masters, and think it’s easier to give a speech off the top of their heads! Others choose to speak from memory.
If you need to read the entire time from notes, not looking up even once at your audience, that is perfectly acceptable as well.
Be yourself. You do you!
There you have it: 10 steps to help you deliver a eulogy.
I hope that you found this information helpful as you get ready for the funeral service. Don’t strive for perfection in writing or speaking; remember that the eulogy is not about you, but your loved one.
Do you feel that you need more help with the writing portion of your eulogy? I write eulogies for a living and would be honored to assist you. Get in touch with me today here.