How To Write A Eulogy
How To Write A Eulogy
No one ever hopes to have to write and deliver a eulogy, but in the unfortunate event that you are asked to do this, this video will provide many tips to ease your mind and make the task more bearable. The expert speechwriter offers several suggestions on the type of content that is appropriate, ways to make the eulogy easier to deliver, and tips for delivering it in a way that makes it obvious that it comes from the speaker's heart.
Hi. I am Lawrence Berstein, a professional speech writer, and I run greatspeechwriting.co.
uk, and irrespective of the sort of speech that you are going to give, there are two or three key things to bear in mind. Firstly, there is nothing to beat preparation, and hopefully you are not watching this 24 hours before you are due to give your speech but the more time you leave yourself, the better. Second of all, don't worry about speaking for too long.
Often a five-minute speech is much, much more powerful and impactful than a twenty-minute one, and brevity is often the key. And finally, although a lot of the videos that I have created are about writing a speech, please remember that you can't think about writing and delivering separately, they are one and the same thing. You are writing to make the speech easy to deliver, and if you think of it that way, then the thing should work.
So you have been asked to give a eulogy at a funeral, and I imagine that you are looking at this preparing a speech with relatively short notice. A eulogy is obviously one of the toughest speeches to deliver in terms of emotion, but it is also, just to reassure you, one of the easiest speeches to give because it is the only speech where you will never be heckled, you will never have to feel the pressure to be funny, and you will never find anybody who is anything other than completely understanding of what you are going through, let alone what everybody else in the room is going through, so I think it is worth starting with that level of reassurance. Having said that, a eulogy doesn't have to be an over-emotional speech, and I think it is very easy to start getting into an area where the thing can actually become too emotional, and become too teary.
And so I suggest that you start by thinking about the reaction you would like when you have finished, and when the service has ended. Would you actually like your few words to have been relatively light-hearted to remember the life of the person in a joyous way that will have the people at that funeral smiling and to create a balance to some of the less pleasant parts of the service? On the other hand, particularly if the death has been fairly sudden or relatively tragic, then you may find that that is completely inappropriate, and so thinking about the reaction that you would like will help you gage exactly the way to put those words down on paper before you start writing. Eulogies tend, partly because people have to write them at such short notice, they tend conversely to be too long.
People tend to feel the need to tell an enormous amount about the life of the person who has passed away, and they end up getting a CV almost of such lengths that even the people in the room can start to get bored. So let's start to look at specific highlights of their life. Let's look at the things that people in that room will actually empathize with, and will find relevant.
They don't necessarily need to know the ins and outs of the job they did, they just need to understand the benefit it created and the ways they helped people. By all means, talk about hobbies and interests of the person involved. Somebody who is passionate about football, it would be completely wrong not to mention football as part of their eulogy, but again not too much detail.
Keep the thing limited and high level, and if possible, to write it in a way that is engaging and that shows how much you cared about that person, and what a wonderful person they were, whether in fact that ends up with smiles or tears. Because delivering a eulogy can be so difficult, it's even more important than with any other speech to keep the sentences incredibly short and easy to deliver. Give yourself room for lots of short breaths.
Split longer sentences into two lines with three dots just to remind you to breathe, and write it in a way that enables you to look up at your audience. Look up and show them that you are