A GUIDE ON HOW TO WRITE AND DELIVER A EULOGY

Eulogies are the opportunity to capture the essence of and pay tribute to, a loved one who has passed – the sharing of their life story, the character of their personality, and what impact they meant to the people left behind.

Consider how special it is to deliver one.  It really is.

Furthermore, there is no ‘perfect’ way to compose a eulogy.  Nor will the audience be expecting a flawless speech.  Family and friends of your loved one will be eager to hear anything you want to share.

In this simple guide, you’ll find suggestions to help you with a structure, where to source information, and some techniques when delivering one.

Structure Summary

Focus on:

  • When and where they were born, family names and relationship.
  • Childhood memories, education and achievements.
  • A brief history of their working career and achievements.
  • How they meet their spouse or partner, marriage details.
  • Community memberships and contribution.
  • Sport achievements, hobbies, interests and any travel memories.
  • Favourite anecdotes, quotes and endearing attributes.
  • What do you think they would like to be remembered for.

Sourcing Information

  • Ask family and friends for their stories and fond memories.
  • Flick through old photos.
  • Search for obituaries and tributes shared online and on social media.
  • Think about your own experiences with them.

Writing the Eulogy

  • Clump collected information under each structure category.
  • Draft eulogy with 3-5 main points, intertwining fact-based information with a yarn example.
  • Use appropriate descriptive words.
  • Is there anything that someone would like you to include or mention.
  • You don’t have to get everything in order or use all the information.
  • Sum up at the end of the eulogy with descriptive adjectives as to who they were and what they meant.
  • Your speech can be serious, light-hearted or a combination of both.
  • With respect to negative qualities, contextualise them against the good things.
  • If you aim to describe what made the person special and important, this will show through in your writing.
  • Read aloud, edit, read aloud, edit one final time – it doesn’t have to be perfectly perfect.

Delivery

  • Practice giving your eulogy.
  • Practice speaking slowly.
  • Practice pausing for thought at certain points in the eulogy that deserve a moment of silence for contemplation, or a particular story which makes the audience laugh.
  • Practice your tone.
  • Practice lifting your head and making audience eye contact.
  • Practice trying to stand still.
  • Practice, practice, practice.
  • It’s okay to pause, get composed, and keep going, as often as you like.

The final decision of what to include will always come down to you.