Writing a eulogy and then delivering it is an important part of any funeral. It’s a way to remember a friend or family member and celebrate their life. If you are wondering how to write a eulogy, here are a few tips.
Writing the eulogy
A eulogy will look back at the deceased person’s life, positive aspects of their personality and the impact they had on others.
You might not have all the information you need. For example, if you are a son or daughter of the person, writing a eulogy for mother or eulogy for father, you won’t know everything about the early years. In this case you might have to ask family and friends about their earlier years in the life of the deceased person.
The word ‘eulogy’ comes from the Greek word for ‘praise’. In fact, in the past, the word was used more broadly to define other speeches, such as a retirement speech. So keep in mind that your speech should focus on the positive aspects of the person’s life and personality.
How to write a eulogy
Some of the aspects to think about are interesting or touching events or stories about:
- Birth and early years
- Parents and siblings
- Schools years – academic, sports and other achievements
- Young adulthood
- Marriage and family
- Hobbies and interests
- Favourite music and sports
- Difficult times in life and how they overcame them
- Beliefs and causes
- Impact on others – how they changed the world for the better.
A large part of a meaningful funeral speech will include sharing stories from the person’s life. If it’s a eulogy for your mother, you would talk about you mother’s life and important things your mother taught you. If it’s for your father, you could talk about what your father loved to do. You might include insight from a close friend who he grew up with or worked with.
Length of the eulogy
There’s no rule for how long your speech should be. You will want to share the most interesting and important aspects of the person’s life and personality. It could be as short as five minutes or as long as 10 minutes. As a general rule, you probably don’t want to go over ten minutes.
A good rate for delivering this speech is around 125 words per minute. So, for example, if you want to speak for six minutes, you will want around 750 words.
Writing and delivering a eulogy
When you are happy with what you have written, it’s time to work on delivery. This can seem daunting if you are not experienced in public speaking. Given the timeframe and circumstances, people won’t expect to remember your speech, so it’s okay to read the eulogy. At the same time, you will want to look up from the page and make eye contact with the audience. While you won’t need to memorise the speech, you will want to read it several times to become familiar with it. If you can, practise it at home by reading it out loud to yourself. You might also discover some spots that are not clear or are hard to deliver. In this case, you will want to do some editing.
Stage fright is another consideration. But the more prepared you are, the more confident you will be. If you feel nervous before your turn to speak, do some deep breathing to relax. While delivering the speech, speak slowly. If you are nervous, you will tend to speed up your speaking rate, so focusing on speaking slowly will help you stay in control.
Additional tips for writing a eulogy for specific people
Eulogy for father: For a son or daughter, you can share your memories of your father. This could include special memories in the form of stories about what your father meant to you and how he made a positive impact on your life.
Eulogy for mother: This will be similar writing a eulogy about your father. Include a few stories that highlight the important impact of your mother and what she meant to you.
Eulogy for grandmother or eulogy for grandfather: Again, share special memories of your grandmother of grandfather. You can also speaking to your older relatives to gain insights into their earlier lives.
Eulogy for a friend: This can include how you met the person and how your friendship developed over the years. Recall some of the things you did together, such as sports, travel and recreation. If you can think of any funny stories that are in good taste, include these as well.
Remember that the idea of a eulogy is to paint a positive picture of the person and their life. If you point out any shortcomings (which we all have), this should be done in a humorous or forgiving way.
Eulogy writing services
If you feel stuck on how to write a funeral speech, we’ll be glad to help. As professional speechwriters, we have helped thousands of people over the years with their speech writing needs.
The process of creating your eulogy includes:
- Providing a list of questions to answer to get the background material required
- Following up with a short phone discussion if more information is needed
- Creating the first draft of the speech for review
- Making changes to the draft based on your feedback.
The entire process usually takes two to three days, or faster if you need to deliver the eulogy sooner. Contact me using the form on this page or call me on 1300 731 955 to discuss the process and the fee for writing a eulogy.
About Michael Gladkoff, Speechwriter
Michael has been writing speeches for over 30 years. He started during his teens when he joined Toastmasters. He began writing speeches professionally in 2005. Since then, he has written hundreds of speeches. Besides being a eulogy writer, Michael writes speeches for business leaders and special events.