Top tips for reading a eulogy
Here funeral plan expert, Perfect Choice, looks at how to overcome the fear of speaking at funerals and at other public occasions.
Delivering a eulogy at a funeral is often more difficult than any other type of public speaking. Emotions are high and it’s hard to focus on the task in front of you. What is important to remember is that you’re there to share your treasured memories about your loved one with people who care about this person too. No one will be judging you and others will be glad to help you. If you keep this in mind this can help reduce the stress. Here are some tips to help you deliver the perfect eulogy.
1. Don’t be afraid to cry
This is the first thing people worry about when giving a eulogy at a funeral; that the emotion will be too much for them and that crying will take the place of their words. The best thing you can do is not be afraid to cry. People expect crying at a funeral and they won’t mind if you do. If you do cry whilst reading and it gets to the point where you can’t carry on, simply have someone on standby who will be able to help you finish the reading. Feel free to take your time and remember not to rush through it, especially if you have an older audience.
2. Take someone up with you
Taking someone up to the front with you whilst you speak can be great way to keep yourself calm and at ease, knowing there is a person with you can instantly remove some of the worry of public speaking. There is nothing wrong with having someone with you whilst you read at a funeral, it’s not as if it is a presentation on which you are being judged, you are simply sharing stories and goodbyes.
3. Don’t focus on the audience
Whilst you are talking, you may want to look out on your audience every now and then, but if you are particularly wary of welling-up during the eulogy then it’s best not to focus on others too much. You could catch the eye of a family member, or someone who is visibly upset and it could be distracting or too emotional for you. It may be best to keep your eyes to the page, with a general gaze out at the room.
4. Be honest & share memories
When writing and reading a eulogy, make sure that you are honest with your memories and stories of the loved one you’ve lost. Obviously don’t go as far as to upset people, but focussing on all of the person’s features, whether they’re positives or flaws, is a great way to connect with those around you and shows that you truly knew and loved the person. It can help the room to connect with what you’re saying. It will make it harder on yourself if you make up stories and lie about them being an all-round perfect person.
5. Finally, plan it out
Pre-plan what you’re going to say and write it down. Writing it all down is simply the easiest way of delivering a eulogy. You are not expected to remember an entire speech and having it all down in front of you will relieve some of the stress you may have about speaking to the audience. Make sure you practice reading it out loud a few times before the actual event. This will help you keep calm, as you will know what you’ll be saying next and be comfortable reading it.
I hope these tips for reading at a funeral have been helpful. Just remember that emotion is not a bad thing and that you will have the support of your friends and family around you.
We offer a funeral wishes form which includes a section to record personal information which can be helpful when writing and structuring a eulogy.