Posted by Presentation Skills on November 4, 2007
One of the toughest gigs in public speaking is the eulogy. It is something that no one likes to do, and if you are known for having some skills in public speaking, by default it will become your duty to deliver it. I recently had the opportunity to help a very good friend prepare the eulogy for her father. I thought that I would share some of the tips that helped her. These are not just speaking tips that I have read, but tips I used when I delivered the eulogy for my father as well.
- The Eulogy (like the funeral service) is for the living, not the deceased. It is a way of public remembering your loved one and what they meant to you.
- Don’t be afraid to re-write history. This does not mean that you turn the deceased into the saint they never were. Rather, it means looking for the brighter things your loved one gave to you and others. Shine the light on the best parts and remember them.
- Tell stories. People will want to hear about the stories of your loved one and what they meant to you. It is these stories that other will remember long after the service has ended.
- Have a support structure for delivering your eulogy. This may mean having the speech written out with you, someone by your side, or someone prepped to take over should you become too emotional.
- Don’t be afraid to let the emotion show.
- Don’t be afraid to have a laugh. At my fathers’ funeral, one of the speakers was Dads best mate. He recounted many funny stories that we had never heard. Even the officiating Minister was in fits of laughter. The speech mirrored Dads’ life, and this helped us to remember him.
- Finally, take a recording of the day. Have someone take photos and make an audio recording of the day. This may sound macabre, but its not. As with all major events in life, we want to look back and relive the emotions of the day. A funeral is no different.
Do you have any other suggestions for the Eulogy?