Funeral speeches are the most difficult speeches to write because it is difficult to summarize the life of a loved one in a few words. Furthermore, the thought of delivering a speech in front of friends and family during such an emotional time is a fear that many of us face. The following article will provide you with a few tips that will help make writing a funeral speeches easier and less stressful.
Most funeral speeches are written with the help of people who were close to the deceased. Interviewing friends and family will help you learn more about your loved one and will make the speech more personalized and memorable. Typically a speech contains a brief life history of the deceased, a few details about his or her life, major achievements, family life and fond memories. You could also talk about his or her favorite hobbies, sports and other interests. If your loved one had a favorite book or poem, including a favorite quote in the speech is another way you can make it more personalized.
A few facts that are included in almost all funeral speeches are the deceased’s age (or date of birth), the names of immediate family members (spouse, children and parents), their education (degrees or certificates received), work and career (most recent job), their favorite hobbies (sports, cooking, camping, reading, etc.).
After you have written all of the important facts about the person, next you will want to include personal memories. This is the most important part of the speech because it makes it more personalized and explains to the audience how important the deceased person was to you. Include one or two memories about a time you shared with the deceased person. It could be a funny situation, a serious moment or a lesson he or she taught you. You may also want to include one or two stories about the person when you were not present. It could be a story he or she told you or something that another friend or family member wanted included in your speech. Remember to include memories and stories that the audience can relate to. Do not choose anything that people may find offensive or that is so personal that people cannot relate to it.
Before you sit down to write the speech make sure that you have at least an hour or two to dedicate to writing the speech. Begin by making a list and writing down all of the factual information that you can think of (important dates, achievements, family members, etc.). Next, take some time to brainstorm stories and memories about your loved one. Write down as much as you can think of and then decide later what memories are best to include in the speech. Finally, we recommend that you contact a few of the deceased’s friends and relatives to collect more information for your speech. They can provide you with any information that you may be missing and can offer additional stories that you may want to include in your speech.
After you have collected all of the information for the speech you will want to spend some time going through it and highlighting the most important information to include in the speech. Begin by writing a draft version of the speech. Do not worry about the speech length or spelling and grammar. The goal is to turn all of the facts into a composed speech. The next step is to take the initial draft and read through it a few times and remove any unnecessary information and correct all spelling and grammar errors.
Now that you have a second draft of the speech we recommend that you read it aloud and time yourself. Reading the speech aloud will help you see how the speech flows and how long it takes to read. Most funeral speeches last 5 minutes, but it is up to you to decide the length. You may be limited to a certain amount of time, or have unlimited time, but in either situation it is important to keep the speech short enough that the audience stays engaged. There will be a lot that you want to say about your loved one, but it is better that you limit the speech to key points. This will keep the audience interested and attentive throughout your entire speech. The best way to determine if the length is appropriate is to read the speech to one or two people prior to the funeral. They can provide you with helpful feedback and may notice grammatical errors that you may have missed.
Remember to write the speech with a conversational and friendly tone, that way when you read the speech it will easily come from your heart and not sound stiff and over-rehearsed. The most important thing to remember is that everyone else at the funeral is feeling the same grief that you are. They are not going to be concerned about how well you deliver the speech. They are looking forward to hearing about their loved one and listening to your fond memories and stories.
If you consider the above guide to writing funeral speeches than you should have everything you need to write a memorable speech. For more help writing funeral speeches we recommend that you read our sample eulogies or other articles on writing speeches.
Updated: August 16, 2012