Mary Hickey is an urn designer and thought leader in the funeral industry in the United States.She is co-founder of Renaissance Urn Company, in San Francisco http://www.nextgenmemorials.com
- A beginning to establish your theme.
- A middle section to build on your theme with personal stories, information, quotes, comments, sayings, poems and other content. This information should make up 90% of the eulogy.
- A short conclusion to summarise your thoughts and restate your theme.
Step Three: Work first on the middle section (Part 2). Once you have this part the beginning and summary will be easy. Develop the outline by grouping similar themes from your notes from Step 1. For example, you might want to gather all the achievements together. Merge the comments about the deceased individual's philosophy of life.
Step Four: Organise the conclusion (Part 3). A conclusion reminds the listeners of the theme and imprints the strong feeling you have about the loss. The key is to conclude effectively and quickly.
Here is an example:
"We will all miss Jackie's sense of humor, her talent for knowing what is really important in life and her famous chocolate chip cookies" (a little humor doesn't hurt as long as it's not offensive to anyone).
"Her example lives as an inspiration for all of us to follow."
Step Five: Write the beginning of the eulogy (Part 1). This usually starts with an attention getter. It will set the theme and can be in the form of a short story, a poem, a saying, lyrics to a song. It will introduce the goal and theme you used when you began the process.
Step Six: Polish it up. Your best bet is to walk away from it for a few hours or overnight if possible. Work on it so it sounds like a conversation. You want to talk to the audience as naturally as possible.
- Keep it short, 4-8 minutes long, 3-7 typed pages.
- Type it out using 14 pt type so it's easy to read.
- Vary sentence length.
- Number the pages.
- Practice 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 keep it positive.
Step Seven: Delivering the eulogy. While normally speakers do not read word-for-word, because you are more than likely going to be emotional, don't be afraid to read word for word. This way you won't leave out any key points you or others wanted said.
If making eye contact with members of the audience will make you emotional, either try and keep your eyes on the page or look just over the top of the audience to the back of the room.
Feel free to pause, take a deep breath and drink some water. Everyone will understand. They are emotionally distraught also.
Speak as naturally as you can just as if you were telling someone about your loved one. Speak up. It's very important that you speak clearly and loudly so that everyone can hear you.
Keep the written eulogy as a memento. You can add it to your memento chest and share it with others who may want a copy.
By following these steps, writing and delivering a eulogy will become less stressful and more of a healing process.