Speaking at a funeral: tips and advice

The death of a loved one is a hugely difficult experience to go through – probably the hardest you'll ever have to deal with in your life. If you've decided to take on the responsibility of delivering a eulogy at a funeral, then you might be feeling anxious about what you should say and how you should deliver your speech. There's no denying that it can be a huge challenge, but giving a eulogy can also be a very rewarding experience, one that allows you to commemorate and celebrate the life of a loved one. Here are some top tips on dealing with the challenge of speaking at a funeral.

Planning a eulogy

When planning a eulogy, it can be helpful to think about what kind of eulogy you want it to be. For example, you might want to give a short biography, considering the person's life as a whole. On the other hand, you might want to take the personal viewpoint approach, which is more like a slice of a person's life, based on your own experiences and impressions of their character. You can read more about the different types of eulogy here.

Remember it doesn't have to be perfect

Perhaps the most important thing to remember when delivering a speech at a funeral is that no one will be judging you on your public speaking abilities. Even if you generally don't feel confident in making speeches and you stumble or stutter through what you have to say, it doesn't matter; people are there to pay their respect and will be supportive of any effort on your part to celebrate their memory.

Dealing with emotion

Delivering a eulogy will naturally be a deeply emotional experience, so don't feel like you've failed in any way if you cry or struggle to control your emotions. However, if you do want to ensure that you keep tears at bay, there are some things you can do to keep calm and stop your emotions inhibiting your ability to give the speech. Speaking-tips.com recommends avoiding mentioning very emotionally-loaded ideas at the beginning or the end of a eulogy, as these are generally the most difficult parts to get through. If at any point you do feel overwhelmed, pause and take a few deep breaths before continuing – the audience will understand.

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