Memorial service speeches are one of the most personal and emotional parts of a funeral. If you have been asked to read a speech at a funeral it is a huge honor. It provides you with an opportunity to pay tribute to your loved one and share your favorite memories with friends and family attending the funeral.
Writing a speech to read at a funeral is very difficult. The emotion of losing a loved one is immense and organizing your thoughts into a speech is difficult. Furthermore, there is so much information that you want to share with the people attending the funeral. You want to show them how special the deceased person was and how much they meant to you. To help write the perfect speech to memorialize and honor your loved one, we have put together the following tips for writing memorial service speeches.
8 Tips for Writing Memorial Service Speeches
1. Keep it short and to the point
You have probably heard the saying “less is more”. It is important to remember when writing a speech for a memorial service. You likely shared numerous experiences with your loved one. Furthermore, he or she had a lot of good qualities and interests that you want to share. However, the most effective memorial service speeches are 5 to 10 minutes in length. Focus on the deceased’s qualities that you will remember the most about him or her. Share a story or two that best depicts these qualities and that everyone in attendance will be able to relate to.
2. Introduce yourself
People who read memorial service speeches often forget to introduce themselves. A wide range of people will be attending the funeral and not everyone will know who you are. Furthermore, it can help to give a brief background on how you knew the deceased. This may not be necessary if they were a family member. However, if you are a friend of the deceased it is helpful to provide some information on where and when you met the person.
3. Remember who it is about
It is important to remember the purpose of the eulogy speech. You are there to honor and pay tribute to the person who passed away. Often people delivering speeches will start to speak too much about their personal relationship with the deceased. Furthermore, people will also speak about the grief they are feeling over the loss. It is understandable why people do this, but it creates a disconnect between the person giving the speech and the audience. The goal should be to share information about the deceased so that people attending the funeral can learn more about the person and remember the time they shared with the deceased.
4. Stay positive and add humor
A funeral is a very sad occasion. The eulogy provides you with an opportunity to put a smile on the face of friends and family. Instead of discussing the sadness you are feeling over the loss, speak about the wonderful life the person lived and his or her positive qualities. Sharing a humorous story will help to break the tension in the room and add laughter to a somber situation.
5. Make it conversational
The best memorial service speeches are conversational. Think of the speech as a conversation you are having with a close friend. Oftentimes, people reading a speech will simply read a list of facts about the person and read a story or two. It is not necessary to share every piece of information about the person. Instead, the goal is to engage the audience and share with them what made the deceased person so special to you and everyone else.
6. Be inclusive of everyone
The memorial service will include friends, family, coworkers, and other acquaintances. Not everyone attending the funeral will know the deceased as well as you did. Do not assume that everyone knew him or her the way you did. It is ok to share personal memories, but try to choose stories that emphasize a personal quality of the deceased person. That way, even though people attending the funeral were not there for the situation, they will still be able to relate to the story.
7. Bring a printed copy
It is not necessary to memorize the speech. In fact, trying to memorize the speech can make reading the speech more difficult because if you forget what to say it can be difficult to get back on track. Print a copy of the speech using a large font that is easy to read from far away. That way you do not have to hold the speech close to your face to read it. We recommend reading the speech a few times before the funeral to become familiar with it and then refer to the printed speech while delivering the eulogy.
8. Don’t be afraid to show emotion
The most important tip to remember when delivering a eulogy is to not be afraid to show emotion. Everyone attending the funeral will be sharing in your grief and will understand how difficult it is to read a eulogy about your loved one who passed away. We recommend bringing a glass of water with you to the podium. If you find that you are getting emotional during the speech, pause, take a deep breath and drink some water, then continue. This will help you to collect your emotions and continue with the speech. If you find that the emotion is to great, you can request that a friend or family member continue reading the speech on your behalf.
The 8 tips for writing memorial service speeches are helpful to keep in mind when writing and delivering a eulogy. We recommend that you also read one of our eulogy writing guides listed below to learn more about how to properly structure a eulogy and what information to include. This will help you write a beautiful eulogy speech for your loved one.
Updated: May 25, 2013