Funeral and cremation services are difficult moments, especially when the one you’re laying to rest is a close family member or dear friend. No amount of pretty flowers or comforting funeral songs can ease your heartfelt grief. If you have been tasked to write a eulogy and deliver the speech as a tribute to the deceased, you may feel stressed about the situation. After all, it is hard to encapsulate the life of a beloved person in just ten minutes. How can you possibly do justice to it?
Remember, instead of fretting over the task, embrace it, for it’s an honor that shows you have a close relationship with the deceased. It is never a burden to give a eulogy, but it is a blessing you should feel proud of. Not everyone receives this chance to say a final tribute due to time constraints in the service.
If you were given this responsibility, you may feel unsure how to speak in front of a large crowd at such a trying time. But don’t worry, you are not alone because everyone feels this way. After all, death is never easy. Should you feel concerned about falling apart during the eulogy, consider the following tips to help you keep difficult emotions under wraps so you can give a successful speech:
Allot Time to Practice
If you made your own speech, you’ve conquered half the battle because you know the contents by heart. However, if you gave details and requested someone to write the final eulogy, you may need to memorize the speech as much as you possibly can. In either situation, you need to practice to ensure you feel comfortable with the flow. Though you can bring a printed speech or use note cards, you still need to be familiar with the words. Should you pause to make eye contact with the audience or take a deep breath to settle your feelings, you can get back into the groove swiftly if you know the content.
With practice, you become less nervous and feel more confident in your words. Through familiarity, you are secure, so there’s no need to constantly stare at your paper. Though it does a great job of helping you stabilize nervous, shaky fingers, this paper could distract the audience. Above all, don’t forget to practice in front of a mirror. Knowing the words and imagining your reflection on the looking glass can help you from becoming overly emotional.
Rely on a Support Person
Eye contact with your audience matters in creating engagement and connection. But more than that, eye contact with supportive people in the audience can help you finish your speech without breaking down. If you’ve been asked to give a eulogy, request a good friend to stay up front to give you moral support. He or she can stay in the front seat to give you an encouraging smile or a thumbs up when you feel unsteady.
You can also choose your point person in the audience. Pick people who you admire, so you feel inspired to keep your composure. If you feel emotional, make eye contact with these people because it builds connections and gives you strength. Through this, you can pick yourself up and finish your eulogy without any glitches. Should your support person suddenly cry, too, veer your eyes to a different view as this can trigger your emotions.
Speak Slowly and Breathe
In public speaking, the number one rule is to speak slowly, so you don’t jumble the words. If you’re nervous, there’s a tendency to rush through everything like a tongue twister. Hence, it’s so much better to make a mindful choice to speak slowly by taking note of your breathing. Enunciate the words well, so you don’t miss out on any part. It would be a disservice to your departed loved one if you just try to get things over with as soon as possible. It’s so much better to be intentional about your chosen words and take your time.
Most of all, taking deep breaths when you feel overly emotional can help you calm yourself down. Don’t feel ashamed if you pause to do this many times in your eulogy. And remember, if a tear or two slips out, you have nothing to worry about. This is not a sign of weakness but shows how much the deceased means to you. No one listening will look down on you if you cry as they also probably feel immense pain because you have all lost someone near and dear to you.