Tips For A Better Eulogy
- Keep it short, 4-8 minutes long, or 3-7 typed pages
- Type it out using 14 pt. typeface so its easier to read
- Delegate the reading aloud to another family member if you have a fear of public speaking
- Number your pages so it is organized and easy to follow
- Practice reading the eulogy aloud and time yourself
- Read it to friends and family and get their feedback, edit where necessary
- Keep the content in good taste and on a positive note
A Step By Step Guide
1. Gather your information. Jot down as many personal notes about the deceased as possible by talking to other family members, looking through photo albums. Consider what made your loved one truly happy? What were his passions in life? What will they be remembered the most about? What inspired you to write this eulogy?
Keep in mind the eulogy is not a biography like the obituary, it is more about your personal thoughts and remembrances from your point of view.
2. Begin to organize your content. Outline the eulogy by establishing your theme. Identify the middle section to build your theme with personal stories, information, special quotes, comments, sayings, poems and other related content. This should make up the majority of the eulogy. End with a short conclusion to summarize your thoughts and restate your theme.
3. Start by working in the middle section since this will have the bulk of your information. Once this part is done, the beginning and ending of the eulogy will be easier to establish and put together. Maybe you gather all of their achievements here and go on from there by giving details, stories and the deceased philosophy of life.
4. Organize the conclusion or ending. It typically reminds the listener of the them and imprints strong feelings you have about the loss. The main thing is to conclude the eulogy quickly and effectively. For example, you might end with something along these lines:
"We will all miss Henry's sense of humor, talent for knowing how to fix everything and his one time invention of a rocket machine. He was truly a man of invention and innovation. His example lives as an inspiration to us all to follow our dreams and never give up."
5. Now write the beginning of the eulogy. Perhaps you begin with an attention getting statement or saying. You can also start with a poem, lyrics to a song, or even a short story. This helps introduce your overall theme as you head into the middle section.
6. Polish it up. The best way to do this, especially if you have been at it for hours is to give yourself a little break and come back to it on another day or within a few hours to get refreshed. Make sure when you practice the eulogy aloud that you try and be as natural as possible.
7. Delivering the eulogy. Normally you won't be reading from your notes word for word when delivering your tribute. But if you find that you might get emotional, reading from your notes is perfectly acceptable. Just look up from time to time if possible. People will understand that everyone is in a fragile mindset so reading from notes is never an issue. Feel free to pause or take a moment of silence during your words. Speak as naturally as you can as talking to someone one-on-one about your loved one. Speak as clearly and loudly as possible if there is no microphone so everyone will hear you. If you find you get emotional and your voice breaks, take a cup of water or a pause. It's okay, because everyone understands and shares your distress.
8. Keep your written eulogy as a keepsake or memorial tribute memento. Some family members may want a copy to keep as well. By following the steps above, the eulogy will be less stressful and contribute more to the healing process. You can find a sample of a faith based eulogy in our archives.