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Speeches are a key part of most funerals and eulogies offer the chance to talk about your loved one’s life and what they meant to you. As such, they can become incredibly emotional and feel very daunting for those delivering them – though knowing how to write one could make this easier.
Being asked to give a eulogy is often regarded as an honour, though it can be a huge source of anxiety for some people.
The good news is that there is no right or wrong thing to say and most people listening will respect the courage it took to give the speech in the first place.
One key thing to remember before speaking is knowing your audience and making sure you have a basic speech structure in place – this will give you something to stick to if you become emotional or lose focus.
Start with some basic information on the deceased such as their family life, career, hobbies and their partner – if they had one.
Write down the names of the family members you’d like to include in your eulogy, as you may be feeling overwhelmed on the day and forget.
Use anecdotes to emphasise the personality of the person you are honouring and mention the qualities you most admired in them.
Including things like their favourite songs, quotes or poems will add a personal touch that will resonate with the audience.
Laurence Jones, Partner of Laurence Jones Funeral Directors, Bebington, said: “Firstly, begin with a potted history of the person, if it’s a lady, talk about their maiden name and where she went to school, what her job was and where she met her partner.
“Family details and interests are really important to talk about, you’ll be amazed at the number of people who learn something new about their loved one from a eulogy.”
A eulogy should generally take around five to ten minutes to read aloud, though there is flexibility within this depending on the context of the day.
Mr Jones added: “You really need to work out how long it’s going to be, you’ll be surprised at how much you can say in ten minutes.
“I have people at funerals that say they’re only going to be ten minutes, and after 25 minutes, they are still going strong.”
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During the reading of the eulogy, ensure that you are taking deep breaths and reading the words slowly – having tissues nearby will help if you get upset.
It is important to take pauses as you read, as well as not being afraid to take a second to breathe if you start to get overwhelmed.
In summary, Mr Jones said: “We know certain parts of people’s lives but not others, a eulogy is all about completing life’s pattern.”
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