You may have been asked to deliver a eulogy, or requested to do so. Now it is important that you know how to write a eulogy. A eulogy is a heartfelt speech that is given at a funeral or other memorial service. Typically family members and close friends will write and deliver a eulogy; however, anyone who knew the deceased person may give the eulogy.
Writing and giving a eulogy is one of the most difficult things that you will have to do for someone, but it can be the most fulfilling as well. A eulogy is one of the best ways to pay tribute to, and show your appreciation to, the deceased. The friends and relatives in attendance at the funeral will appreciate hearing fond memories and positive qualities of the person who passed away.
Writing a eulogy does not need to be a scary and difficult task. Remember that you are celebrating the life of a loved one and as long as your words come from the heart everyone at the funeral will appreciate them. If you need help learning how to write a eulogy, then the following tips should provide you with everything you need to write the eulogy.
How To Write A Eulogy
1. Collect Information From Others
Before you begin to write a eulogy you should interview some of the deceased’s family members and close friends. Even though you knew the person very well, which is why your are writing the eulogy, by interviewing others you will learn additional information about the person you may not have previously know. Find out about their relationship with family members, friends and coworkers. Ask about their education and career, as well as their hobbies, interests and favorite activities. You may also want to get information from the family about their childhood, including where he or she lived, when they were born, and so on. Friends and family who are not writing a eulogy of their own may have a special memory that they would like included in your eulogy. Collect as much information as possible even if at the time you may think it is unnecessary.
2. Gather Your Memories
After you have collected information from others, it is time to recall your own memories with the deceased. Recalling fond memories with a departed person can be an emotional task and you may need to work on this over a few days. Think about how you knew the deceased and where/when you met. Next, think about your favorite memories that you shared with the person; these can be light hearted humorous moments, or series situations where you learned an important lesson. What are the attributes that you will miss the most about the person? What wisdom did they share with you and what did you share with them? Remember that you will be delivering the eulogy to friends, relatives and coworkers of the deceased who may not have known the person as well as you. Make sure that the memories you share are appropriate and can be understood and are relatable to the audience.
3. Organize The Information
Now that you have collected information from friends and family and have recalled your own memories it is time to organize the data. It can be helpful to divide the eulogy into sections, which will help you organize the information and write the eulogy. The eulogy can be organized into the following sections: introduction, personal memories, experiences of others with the deceased, the deceased’s favorite things, how the deceased influenced your life, how the deceased influenced others, how much you will miss the deceased, conclusion.
4. Write The Eulogy
Now that you have all of the information you want included in the eulogy it is time to write your speech. Start by writing a draft, which you will likely rewrite multiple times. The first draft will include all of the information you collected and be longer than the finished speech. After you have written the draft, go through it and remove any items that you don’t think are relevant. Next, write a second draft and when you are finished, asked a friend or family member to read it. They may have some helpful suggestions for you to improve the eulogy. Next, using their advice write a third and final draft. Read it over the next few days and make any minor adjustments that are required. You will now have a final copy of the eulogy ready to deliver at the funeral. We recommend printing the eulogy in a large font, which will help when rehearsing the speech and delivering it at the funeral.
5. Rehearse Your Speech
It is helpful to read the eulogy multiple times before you give the speech. Your eulogy is a heartfelt tribute to someone you have lost. Reading the eulogy will be an emotional experience for you and those listening to it. By reading it multiple times in advance you will be more comfortable with the eulogy and less likely to get overly emotional when giving the speech. Furthermore, you do not need to worry about memorizing the speech word-for-word. You will have a copy of the speech with you at the funeral and no one in attendance will mind if you need to refer to the printed copy of the speech.
6. Deliver The Eulogy
As we recommend earlier, make sure that you have a copy of the eulogy printed in a large easy-to-read font. It is understandable that you may be nervous. It is difficult to speak in front of large groups of people, especially in an emotional and sad situation like a funeral. Remember that the eulogy is to honor the memory of your loved one. The audience will appreciate the kind words being said about their friend or family member and will not be concerned with how well you deliver the speech. Speak slowly and glance at the printed version of the speech as needed. Do not worry about reading it word for word and if you get nervous, or lose your spot, simply pause and take a deep breath then continue.
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Updated: June 12, 2012