Learning how to write a funeral speech is important for many reasons. First, most of us have never given a speech at a funeral and will likely not know what to say. Second, losing someone close to you is very emotional and if you do not know how to write a funeral speech it will add unnecessary stress to an already difficult situation.
Delivering a speech at a funeral is a great honor and will help you and everyone in attendance get closure over the loss of your loved one. You should feel privileged to be the one to tell the wonderful story of the deceased. However, before you begin to start writing the speech we recommend that you take some time to learn how to write a funeral speech.
How To Write A Funeral Speech
1. Compile Facts and Memories
Start by writing a list of all of the facts you can think about. Write about their personal details (age, hometown, etc.), family (spouse, children, relatives, etc.), education (degrees or certificates obtained), career (most significant job and title), and interests (sports, hobbies, etc.). No matter how well you knew the deceased it is important to speak to one or two family members and friends to get information from them that you may be missing.
Next, you will need to list some personal memories, which are the most important part of a funeral speech. This will also be the most difficult part of the speech to write. It will be a very emotional task thinking about all of the fond memories you had with the deceased. When writing the speech try to recall stories that were important to you and think about what the deceased person taught you, how they influenced your life and how will you remember them.
2. Choose a Tone and Structure
The first thing to consider before writing the speech is what tone you want to use. The speech can be serious with an emphasis on facts, or it can be lighthearted with a more casual tone. Some of the best funeral speeches include personal stories that have some humor, which helps to alleviate some of the tension of the day.
Next, you need to consider the layout of the speech. Typically a funeral speech is written in chronological order. However, you can also separate it into sections, such as: introduction, history of the deceased’s life, the deceased’s interests, memories with the deceased, how the deceased will be remembered, conclusion.
3. Write the Speech
Now that you have learned the preparation for how to write a funeral speech it is time to get started writing the speech. If you have collected enough information about the deceased, writing the speech should not be too difficult. You need to turn the facts and memories you collected into well-written paragraphs. When you write the first draft you should include as much information as possible then read through it a few times and remove any unnecessary information.
Always close your speech by including the things that you will miss the most about the deceased. You could share with people the last moments you shared with the deceased or tell people the last things that the deceased shared with you. Do not shy away from being real; open up let the world know what the deceased meant to you.
Next, you should write a second draft of the speech, which should not have many spelling or grammar errors and be close to the final version. We recommend that you read your second draft to a friend or family member to get their opinion. They will be able to help you correct any mistakes that you missed and tell you about the speech sounds. Then you can write the final version of the speech.
4. Practice The Speech
Print the speech in a large font so that it is easy to read. Read the speech aloud a number of times to practice. Reading the speech out loud will help you be better prepared for reading it at the funeral. Even though you should practice reading the speech a number of times, you should not worry about memorizing it. It is ok to have the speech at the funeral and read from it as needed.
5. Deliver The Speech
When reading the speech at the funeral you should avoid speaking too fast. If you take frequent pauses to catch your breath the speech will be easier to deliver. If you feel that you are becoming emotional, pause or take a sip of water, then continue. Do not force yourself to be humorous, but remember that if you use humor and a lighthearted tone it can help to engage the audience and alleviate some stress of the day.
Depending on your emotional state you may want to prepare to have a friend or family member deliver the speech for you in case you become overwhelmed with emotion. This will also help alleviate some stress that day because you know that someone else is prepared to give the speech if you are not able.
Now that you have learned how to write a funeral speech you can begin to write your own memorable speech for your loved one. For more help writing funeral speeches we recommend that you read our sample eulogies or other articles on writing speeches.
Updated: August 16, 2012