Justin Micheal, President of Eulogy.com joins Mary to share tips on writing and delivering a eulogy. His staff of compassionate professional speech writers offer an extra pair of skilled hands in writing your stories and creating a complete eulogy.
Getting professional assistance with a eulogy
The process begins with a phone call. You are then carefully matched with a professional speech writer that best fits your circumstances. You will speak directly with the writer, sharing your vision for the eulogy, stories about the deceased and will receive a first draft which you can revise before the final speech is created. There is a standard 48 hour turnaround time. There is not a standard template, each eulogy is completely unique. The basic fee is $500, with additional services such as speech delivery training available.
If you choose to write the eulogy yourself, consider the following tips. Eulogy.com offers a wealth of information on their website which is invaluable!
Typically, there is the Primary Eulogist who will deliver the first memorial of the deceased’s life. This is not always the closest person to them, but one who, as Justin says, “is most up to the task”. Secondary eulogists add a story of their unique relationship or knowledge.
Basic eulogy tips:
- As you begin the writing process, do not put too much pressure on yourself.
- Prepare and practice a fully written speech. Even if you have significant experience with public speaking, this is different. Your grief may get the best of you.
- It is fine to read the eulogy and will allow you to focus on delivery instead of writing the eulogy in your head as you speak.
- Do NOT try to wing it, or just speak from the heart. Do NOT only use an outline.
- Begin with your name and relationship to the deceased
- Acknowledge the spouse or significant other’s loss.
- This is not about you. Do not make the eulogy about you and your special relationship.
- The most basic construction includes illustrating personality traits, interests, or milestones through stories. J’s advice: “show don’t tell”.
- Don’t attempt something crazy creative. Bad idea!
- In cases of suicide, murder or other unusual situations, Justin suggests that circumstances be only gently alluded to indirectly but acknowledged.
- Primary Eulogy length: 5 – 7 minutes, no longer than 10. Secondary: 1-2 minutes
- Use this calculator to estimate how many minutes of spoken word you have written. Generally no more than 2 pages typed, 1.5 spacing, 10pt font size. Print your speech in a larger font.
- If you have been chosen as a eulogist, but do not know the deceased well, contact others and do some research.
Writing your own eulogy
Preparing your own eulogy to be delivered at your funeral or memorial service is becoming increasingly popular. This is especially true for people with a terminal illness, the very old or young, healthy men and women who prefer their message to a eulogy.
Mary’s Public speaking tips:
- Before the service, supply the podium with a glass of water and tissues.
- Breathe. At the podium or microphone, begin by taking take a nice deep breath and exhale. Throughout your speech, you can and should pause and breathe. If you get emotional, use the tissue, take a sip of water. A lack of oxygen or the distraction of a runny nose will ruin any speaker’s presentation.
- Find a friendly face or two in the audience, making eye contact will calm you.
- At the end of your prepared speech, say “Thank you” and return to your seat. Many people do not know how to stop talking.
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