Funeral speeches or often referred to as the eulogy and addresses the attendees of a funeral or memorial service. Many people worry about delivering funeral speeches because it may be one of the few times, they are addressing a large group of people during an emotional time of loss.
People worry that they will break down, be unable to finish the speech, or forget what they are about to say. The most important thing to remember about a funeral speech is that it is a gift. A gift for you to be able to speak about a family member or friend to those who also loved and respected him. It is also a gift of memories for everyone to share.
Remember that it is not a performance and you will not be judged by anyone so its important to be genuine and thoughtful. Be yourself. Funeral speeches should be kept about five minutes in length. That should be sufficient time for an opening remark, a few stories, and a closing statement.
If you are writing a funeral speech, plan on about typing four pages of double spaced text or about one thousand words. As for the content of the funeral speech, the most simple presentations are the best ones. Think about things that were characteristic of the deceased.
Ideally, you want to share stories that best characterizes all sides of the deceased. For example, his attributes as a husband and father, how he practiced kindness, how he helped others and his contributions to the community. Don’t shy away from telling stories that may show his eccentric side but present it in a kind and affectionate way.
Make sure that the center or highlight of your speech is the deceased and not you. Avoid stories that show how important you were in his life. Don’t avoid using his name in fear of hurting his family. It is much more natural if you say something like “the night before John died”, rather than avoid his name altogether. It’s okay to include that in your speech, after all everyone already knows he has died.
When delivering the funeral speech, do so with dignity and speak slowly and clearly. Do not rush through your speech. Use short simple sentences and enunciate each word clearly. You also want to stand facing the audience and look at them directly. If your reading your speech, look up at the audience after a few sentences.
What do you do if you break down? People will forgive you and they will understand that like others, you are feeling a sense of loss. The family may also be comforted to know that you share in their grief. Just take a moment, compose yourself and go on. If you cannot, simply step down and let the next person begin.
Remember that funeral speeches are a gift, a gift of knowledge and perception of the person they loved.