Been asked to lead a Eulogy?….then you’ll need my 7 Top Tips!
Posted: November 28th 2018 | Posted in Funerals
If you’ve ever been asked to say a few words at a funeral, or to lead a eulogy for someone’s life – then no doubt, you’ll remember that feeling only too well!
It’s not something we get asked to do everyday. And yet we know it’s the last thing we can do for someone who’s been an important part of our lives. And if we’ve agreed to do it – we want to do it well. No crying. No bottom lip trembling!
OK I’m a professional Celebrant and this is what I do. But there are tips I can share with you that would help anyone to prepare for the day itself. A great eulogy is one that people will walk away from and still be talking about, long after the Funeral has ended. Wouldn’t it be great if you were attached to that moment too? One thing’s for sure – you won’t have long to prepare for it or to deliver it on the day itself. So here are some Top Tips to help you:
- Think about your audience! Try and imagine who’ll be at the Funeral, sitting and listening to you. Then write with them in mind. It’s OK sharing your personal memories but you want to engage every single person in that room.
- Avoid writing a chronological CV. A eulogy crammed with dates, places and job titles is boring. Think about how that person made you feel; the essence of their qualities and how people would describe them. A eulogy that is too factual will be remembered for all the wrong reasons and people will have switched off long before you’ve finished. They’ll be glad you’re sitting down again!
- Speed read. This is an art in itself. But if you can master the skill of reading your words ahead of when you actually say them, then you’ll come across more naturally. People will forget that you’ve got a script in front of you.
- Slow it down and speed it up! Think pace, pace, pace! Bring meaning into your words by building to a crescendo using speed, whilst slowing things down for reflective moments. We’ve all listened to someone when they’ve read at the same style throughout and again we remember them for the wrong reasons.
- Write to be ‘heard’! Writing something that’s to be delivered orally is very different to writing something to be ‘read’. Keep your sentences short so that you can lift your head and look at everyone. Enlarge your typing font so that if you feel your eyes welling up, you’ve got more chance of seeing what’s in front of you. And use punctuation to the hilt to help you give emphasis when it’s needed! Exclamation marks, CAPS, Fullstops!
- Hold your presence. When you get to the speaking lectern, avoid the temptation to get going as quickly as possible. Stop. Look to everyone. Hold your presence and use the space. These occasions call for reverence and it’s as much about managing your pauses and silences, as it is about getting the words out.
- And if you cry? Stop. Breathe deeply. But more importantly, lift your head and look upwards. It’s near on physically impossible to cry with your head in this position. Our bodies naturally go into the foetal position to help us cry and release emotion – so you need to consciously open yourself ‘outwards and upwards’ to manage yourself.
But the most important thing to always remember is that you’ve been asked to speak:
- Because you matter!
- And because you have something important to say!
So you see, there’s already every good reason for you to be up there. Now go and make it one of the proudest days of your life!