St John’s Winchester Charity

5 tips on writing and delivering a better eulogy

5 tips on writing and delivering a better eulogy

Years ago I conducted a funeral where a family member stood up to pay an extremely short and, let’s say, unusual tribute to his Uncle.

“He liked to drink and he liked to fight”. It really was short and unusual! Everyone laughed though. It was, after all, the truth. It captured the Uncle perfectly. But it got me thinking about what needs to be considered when planning and delivering a good tribute.

A good eulogy is a personal tribute to the person who has died, summing up the key events of their life, but more importantly, describing their personality and what made them special to the people attending the funeral. At A H Freemantle we suggest families consider the following 5 points:

  • Less is more… no, it really is. The temptation to cover every detail is overwhelming, particularly if they have had a long life. But typically around 4-5 minutes is about right.
    Keep it personal…Short stories rather than lists of facts are more interesting to listen to. Ideally, these will be stories where you were involved. Make sure it’s more about them than you though!
  • Keep it positive…If there are difficult topics to cover the congregation will probably already be aware. You don’t need to break the news to them during the funeral.
  • Keep a written copy to hand. Don’t risk standing up with only bullet points. If overcome with emotion someone else can stand in and help with a speech written in full. Use a large font if you’re typing it out.
  • Keep it conversational. Talk clearly and slowly. Look at your listeners and make eye contact while talking to them. You are sharing your personal experiences with them, they are as privileged as you are to be a part of this, but that doesn’t mean you need to lecture them.
    Always remember that everyone there is behind you 100% so stay calm and take your time.

For further advice email or call us 01489 885525