How to Write and
Give a Eulogy
The life of the dead is placed in the memory
of the living. - Cicero
Though the times surrounding the death of a love one are tough, they are also cause for celebration. They are a time to express what that person has done to help the world, your family and friends, and how they became a better person in today's ever changing world. Preparing and giving a eulogy can be a difficult process so please consider these tips when going through it.
How to Write a Eulogy
Plan for a five minute presentation. To speak about a loved one you really cared for is a very emotional process. A five minute speech is a good amount of time to convey your feelings about your loved one to those at the memorial. If you prefer to draft out the entire speech beforehand, it would be about 500 words.
Consider the structure of the speech. Several speech structures you can consider are:
- Chronological (when you were younger to now);
- Reverse chronological (now to when you were younger);
- A general theme; or
- Having several main topics regarding your relationship to discuss.
How to Give a Eulogy
Speak like you were speaking to friends. When drafting your eulogy, think of speaking as you would be speaking to friends and family. A eulogy is not a paper for school. The goal is just to convey the message to others as you normally would in a relaxed setting.
Eulogy presentation advice. It is a very stressful experience for many of us to give a eulogy considering the fact that we are not well-trained speakers and are given the task of speaking in front of a large group of people. With that in mind, here are a couple tips to consider:
- Notes vs. fully written speech. While a speech written based on bullet points may come over smoother for those listening, reading verbatim from a prepared speech can be used effectively for those less experienced with public speaking and also can help those overcome nervousness or with emotion.
- Practice. Practice the eulogy beforehand to help you become more comfortable. This will also help you see which topics of the speech may be more emotional than others. Ask a friend, family member or pet to lend an ear for you to practice.
- Back-up plan. It’s possible that when the time comes to give the eulogy, you may not be able to execute due to your nervousness or the emotions you are feeling at the time. If you feel that this may be a possibility, you may want to ask another family member or friend to help you out by being ready to step-in to read the eulogy you have prepared.
In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. – Abraham Lincoln