To write and deliver a touching and meaningful eulogy is a daunting task, especially in light of the grief and sorrow that encompasses the loss of a loved one.
Furthermore, you only have a short time frame to prepare your thoughts and insights and put them down on paper before the funeral service.
Below are five five simple tips that will help you write and deliver a great eulogy:
• The purpose
The eulogy is usually a tribute to a loved one who has passed away. This tribute recounts specific aspects of the life of the one who just passed away. The eulogy may express aspects of the deceased person’s early life and education, work and family life, specific hobbies and interests and qualities, achievements and legacy. The eulogy is usually given by a family member or a close family friend. The eulogy is also a time to say goodbye as you reflect upon those shared memories together.
• The structure
To write a touching and meaningful eulogy requires structure or an outline. A structured outline will help you put your thoughts and ideas together in a cohesive and sequential presentation.
Your structured outline should involve several segments, such as, introduction, early life and education of the deceased person, work and family life of the deceased person, hobbies and interests of the deceased person, qualities, achievements and legacy of the deceased person and the conclusion.
If you have a structured outline like the above, you will only need to write content to the outline. By the way, it is absolutely important that you write out the eulogy. A written copy of the eulogy will give you confidence when you deliver the eulogy at the funeral service or memorial service.
• The tone
The eulogy is not a formal essay. The eulogy should be written in a conversational tone as if you were talking to family, friends, co-workers or even strangers.
Also, the eulogy is your personal reflections relating to the collection of memories you have regarding the deceased person. Therefore, you need to share a story or two about the deceased person. This makes the eulogy personal and helps others relate to what you are saying.
Furthermore, the eulogy needs to have a positive tone to it. Yes, we all have our negative traits; however, most people have numerous positives about their life which you can focus on.
As someone wrote: “If the deceased person was a difficult person or led a troubled life, then just trust that those in the audience already know that and that it’s not your job to break the news to them.”
• The length
A eulogy should only be five five to 10 minutes. It should be precise, clear with a natural flow to it. There is nothing worse than someone who rambles on with little direction and progression. Usually the listener will feel awkward and uncomfortable if this happens.
A five- to 10-minute eulogy requires about 1,000 to 1,500 words. If you follow a structured outline (see above) of five or six segments, then you will only need to write about 250 to 300 words per segment.
• The delivery
Once you have completely written out the eulogy, you will need to practice the eulogy by reading it out loud. The more you practice reading out loud the eulogy, the more comfortable you will feel when you deliver the eulogy at the funeral service or memorial service.
The funeral service can be stressful and emotional. Therefore, the more prepared you are, the easier it will be for you on the day when you deliver the eulogy.
Also, by reading out loud the eulogy, you may discover that you need to change some words or phrases. That’s fine. All this will help you put together a touching and meaningful eulogy which listeners will appreciate upon delivery.