How to Give a Eulogy
A eulogy is a very personal act, a gift of your love and memories to honor the deceased. However, it can be difficult to pair that personal intimacy with such public speaking, especially during a time of grief. Being prepared and knowing what to expect can make the experience a little easier, and hopefully it will be a cathartic way to say goodbye.
- Bring notes. You can either write the eulogy down word for word or bring note cards with bullet points if you would rather speak more naturally. Come equipped with about 5 to 7 minutes of material, although anywhere between 3 and 10 minutes might be considered appropriate.
- Practice beforehand. Practicing can help you smooth out any awkward or difficult passages. Practice a calm, measured speaking tone. This will help keep you from getting too anxious and speeding up unnecessarily. It might also help you identify places where you might get choked up, and you can plan accordingly.
- Don't forget to introduce yourself. Tell the mourners your name and your relationship with the deceased before you begin. It will help provide context that not everyone necessarily has.
- Pick a person to look at. It's good to look up when addressing an audience rather than staring at your notes. However, looking at certain bereaved family members or friends might make speaking more difficult or painful. Pick out a neutral or encouraging face beforehand or simply choose a spot at the back of the room to stare at occasionally. No one will know the difference.
- Plan to get teary-eyed. It is natural, though not expected, that you may cry at the funeral of a loved one. Plan in advance. If you are comfortable crying, simply take a pause when you need to. There is no need to apologize or try to power through a difficult sentence if you need a moment. Bring a few tissues in your pocket and even (if it's allowed) a glass of water. If you would like to keep from crying, just take a drink of water and practice a few deep, steady breaths before continuing.
Index of obituary templates