So you want to write a eulogy for your loved one, but aren’t sure where to start?
No sweat, we’ve got you covered.
With these 11 tips on delivering eulogies, you’ll be capable of writing nothing short than an epically memorable eulogy for your loved one.
Check out these 11 tips below:
#1: Keep the eulogy short and sweet
Ever been to a wedding or a funeral where the speech or eulogy goes on and on, forever and ever, amen? Yes, we have too. When it comes to eulogies, keep your speech short and sweet. It’s always better to carefully choose fewer words with more power. Remember that people are only going to remember one or two sentences from your eulogy, if at all. So use your words wisely and precisely.
#2: It’s always good to start the eulogy with humor
At a funeral, everyone is either nervous or devastated. Kicking off a eulogy with humor gets the crowd relaxed right off the bat. Then, everything else you say will land more deeply with a relaxed crowd. We love the way this eulogy is both short and humorous, and yet also brings tears to the eyes (at least for us!).
Watch this great example of a short, sweet, humorous eulogy below: https://youtu.be/73Qc9D3m8y8
#3: Remember that everyone loves a good story
The eulogies I most remember are the ones that choose one good story to share. The human mind loves a good story. In fact, studies show that stories fire up the oxytocin (brain chemicals that make you feel good) and our mirror neurons which help us to relate to each other more easily. They also help us to create meaning and remember. So find a good story within your heart that would encapsulate your loved one well, and also touch or uplift everyone who has come to celebrate them.
For inspiration of a really good story told as a eulogy, check out Steve Jobs’ eulogy, written by his sister, Mona Simpson.
#4: Celebrate some of the highlights and unique qualities of the loved one and their life in the eulogy
At the end of our lives, we all want to be celebrated for our life’s achievements. Of course, that’s not what life is all about. But, there are unique qualities and gifts that we all bring to the world that deserve to be celebrated. And this is the perfect time to take a moment to really celebrate and remember all the goodness they brought into the lives of others in their short time here on Earth.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you decide what to share and celebrate about the loved one:
What makes them the most unique in your family, community?
What was their special gift or what special qualities did they have?
What is something they accomplished that really mattered to them?
Did they have any children? Get married? Have a meaningful career?
What will they be remembered for the most?
5. Don’t be afraid to be your authentic self
Sometimes, we try to write things that won’t offend anyone. But in trying to please everyone, we sometimes end up pleasing no one. Nothing is more valuable in any speech than unique flair and authenticity. Of course there is a certain level of profanity that may be inappropriate. But if you’re writing the loved one’s eulogy, you probably know the level that is appropriate for them. So write from your heart, be yourself, and be vulnerable. Write what you know they would appreciate, not just the audience and your conservative uncle would appreciate. That will inspire everyone else to, too!
Our favorite example of this is Graham Chapman’s eulogy given by John Cleese when he says:
“Well I feel I should say nonsense, good riddance to him, that freeloading bastard. And the reason I feel I should say this is he would never forgive me if I didn’t. If i threw away this opportunity to shock you all on his behalf.” What makes this eulogy so perfect is that it remembers someone’s life in the way they’d want it to be remembered, rather than the typical “norm.”
You can also watch the whole eulogy below:
#6: Close the eulogy with wisdom or inspiration
Studies show that people remember the first and last things you say in a speech. So, close with something memorable. As we’ve said in the beginning of this blog, choose your words wisely. Let them ring for moments after the eulogy.
We recommend closing the eulogy for your loved one with:
A powerful quote
Some words of wisdom they shared with you
A few words that bring hope and inspiration to others
Something tender yet powerful straight from your heart
5 few more tips for delivering a eulogy:
Don’t forget to slow down and breathe! If you feel yourself speeding up, take a deep breath and slow down.
Write down the eulogy before you give it. You don’t have to read it word-for-word at its delivery, but it does help you create a more precise, digestible eulogy.
Talk with your body, too. Use your hands and body to offer the eulogy, instead of delivering it with everything still and stiff. Let the words move through your entire being.
Read your eulogy aloud to yourself. Eulogies, and any speeches, sound a lot different than they look on paper. Read it aloud as you write it so you can pinpoint times it would be good to take a pause, the pace that’s most appropriate, etc.
Get feedback. Ask a friend or family member to look your eulogy over before you deliver it. It’s always good to have a second set of ears to hear you!
Over to you
We wish you the best of luck on your eulogy writing process. Remember that you really can’t mess it up, and even if you do, everyone will be forgiving of you! If you want more inspiration for epic eulogies we recommend checking out these “Most Amazing Eulogies Of All Time”.
Any questions on writing eulogies? If you’re a funeral professional, any more advice you’d give? Let us know in the comments below!
PS. If you’re a funeral professional and want to offer epic grief support to your families, right from your funeral home website, check out our eAftercare suite. With f1 Connects eAftercare plug-in, you can offer them a free interactive online grief counselor, 365 days of grief email affirmations, and more. To learn more about funeralOne’s eAftercare platform, click here or call us at (800) 798-2575.