Eulogy Tips

by admin on December 19, 2011

Probably the greatest myth about eulogies is that they are supposed to be sad or somber in tone. Nothing could be further from the truth!

As a matter of fact, if someone were to deliver a tearful, depressing eulogy I would be the first to criticize their work.

A eulogy is a celebration of life. If you ever read the obituary section of the newspaper you will notice that obituaries are not depressing. An obituary will give a brief summary of one’s life. It will highlight family, career and significant accomplishments. An obituary is similar in tone and content to what one would expect of an eulogy. If you’re struggling with what to write in a eulogy, simply peruse the obituary sections and see what type of information is relevant.

Most obituaries follow a chronological format starting with the first paragraph mentioning where the person was born and when. The last paragraph will usually talk about the person’s illness that a brought about an end to life.  Both of these two elements are unnecessary in a eulogy. However, the rest of the content in an obituary is similar to what you would find in a well crafted eulogy.

As you go through various obituaries, you will notice that there is usually one or two interesting stories about the deceased. Maybe it is how he took a trip to India in the 1960′s to study transcendental meditation. Maybe it is a story about how he met his wife while singing in the church choir.

For some people, their careers are important and you might want to highlight career achievements. However, if someone simply “worked to live” there would be little sense in writing a long paragraph about an unimportant career.

For many people, family is of utmost importance and you might want to mention how the deceased sacrificed other passions in order to spend more quality time with the family.

As you read through obituaries, you will notice that the information in an eulogy is similar in that both are celebrations of life and far from depressing.

 

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Eulogy Speeches

by admin on October 17, 2011

I was recently at a funeral where several people were asked to say a few words about the departed.  I was disappointed as most people seemed to ramble during the eulogy speech. I wondered if the reason for the unfocused eulogy speech was due to nerves or because the speakers were simply unprepared.

Since eulogy speeches seem to bring some much trouble for so many people, I thought I would go over some of the basics.

First of all, the eulogy speech is a celebration of life. It is not meant to be depressing. I have even witnessed eulogy speeches given for people who have died young and the eulogy speech is almost always positive. You are not lamenting the death but rather highlighting the life that was lived.

Secondly, every eulogy speech should be properly edited. I was appalled at the speeches I heard at the memorial because it seemed to me that the speakers wanted to cram in 70 stories about the 70 years that the deceased had lived. Instead, speakers need to focus on one or two stories especially when giving a eulogy speech that will be followed by several other eulogies.

Thirdly, keep your eulogy speech short. I spoke with a man after the speeches and he complained about how everyone seemed to talk for ever without actually saying anything.  Shorter speeches are almost always better than longer speeches. Why not just tell one story that highlights some characteristics or qualities about the deceased? I think that most people feel overwhelmed when they brainstorm before their speech because they have so many wonderful memories that they want to share with the audience. However, I’m starting to think that the key to a good eulogy speech is actually in the editing and not the writing.

After you have brainstormed a few pages of ideas for your eulogy speech, I would recommend that you cut 80% of the ideas. Forget about them. Don’t try to cram too much information in your speech and simply focus on your most relevant material.

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Eulogies: How to Keep Emotions in Check

by admin on March 9, 2011

A eulogy is a difficult time in your life. Obviously you have lost someone close to you. You may be feeling grief, sadness or even anger. Subsequently, you are concerned that you will “lose it” during the eulogy.  The last thing that you want to do is to start breaking down and crying in front of dozens of people.

In this blog post, I’m going to outline some tricks of the trade used to control your emotions during a eulogy.

First of all, I like to think of eulogies as speeches on steroids. What I mean by this is that all of the rules of speech writing and preparation apply 10X in the case of eulogies.

Preparation is the key to controlling your emotions. The more you prepare by way of practicing your speech the less like you are to start crying.

Another tip that I use is to focus eye contact on certain people who are strangers and who are not crying. In other words, an emotional breakdown can be induced when you look at someone that you care about. I remember when a man made eye contact with his sobbing brother during a eulogy for their mother. As soon as he made eye contact it was as if he was overtaken by a torrent of tears.

Thus, if you make eye contact with someone who was merely an acquaintance of the deceased, you stand a greater chance of keeping your emotions in check.

Lastly, do not feel embarrassed if you start to tear up during the eulogy. This is normal. What you would like to avoid is total emotional breakdown.

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Quick Eulogy Tips

by admin on January 4, 2011

As you brainstorm material for your eulogy you should consider the tone of your speech. Contrary to popular opinion, a eulogy does not have to be somber. In fact, some of the best eulogies are light hearted in tone. I generally like to relate the tone of the eulogy to the deceased. In other words, if the deceased was a joker than I feel more comfortable writing humor. However, if you are writing a eulogy for someone who was not particularly known for their sense of humor, it might be difficult to add humor.

Another eulogy tip is that you should try to think in terms of specific stories. The tendency for most amateur writers is to be vague. What this means is that you list qualities instead of showing the audience these qualities. In writers circles, the expression is “show me, don’t tell me.” Show the audience who the deceased was by adding colorful stories with lots of details.

What you don’t want to do is write a sentence like this:

“My uncle John was courageous, sincere, generous, fun loving and always supportive of my goals.”

The reason why this sentence is ineffective is that it is too vague. It is boring for the audience to listen to a list of qualities.

You would want to write supporting material for a quality that your uncle John exemplified.

For example, you would write something like:

“Uncle John supported my goal to attend the Juilliard School of Arts in New York city. He took me to ballet practice when my father was away on business and he even helped me raise money for tuition by hosting a fund raiser at his office.”

My last eulogy tip is how much time you should devote to rehearsing. You can write a eulogy fit for a president but if the speech is poorly delivered it won’t matter.  Eulogies are traditionally seven minutes and I would recommend two hours of rehearsal time. You’ll be practicing your conversational tone, your eye contact and body language. As you read the eulogy aloud you will also notice a lot of sentences that do not sound right.

If you’re still looking for more information about how to craft a perfect speech, check out our eulogy package that features thirteen speeches.

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Birthday Speech Tips

by admin on December 28, 2010

Now that the fall semester is coming to a close many of you may be in a position where you need to write a birthday speech. Like any speech, you’re probably wondering what to say and how to say it.

First of all they are to people who might be delivering a birthday speech. It might be the person who is toasting birthday person. For example, a mother might deliver a speech for her daughter on her 18th b-day. The second type of person who might be delivering the speech is the actual celebrant. For example, if a person is celebrating their 50th and a party has been thrown for them they would most likely deliver a speech.

In this blog post I’m wanna highlight the key components of every birthday speech which should make it vastly easier for you to write and deliver touching words from the heart.

You can take a look at this birthday sample speech that should give you a good idea of what a proper birthday speech  should look like.

  1. Thank everyone who helped put the party together.  You want to mention people by name here.
  2. there is most likely going to be one person that you will focus on. For example, if somebody for their 18th or 21st birthday they usually spend two or three paragraphs talking about what a positive influence their parents have been in their life. Similarly, if someone is delivering a 50th they usually think their spouse or children and have some kind words about the impact that these people have had in their life.
  3. you also might want to include some funny quotes about aging that are common in birthday speeches

The final thing that I would like to mention is that you want to keep your speaking time below 5 to 7 minutes.

One of the more helpful tools for writing a birthday speech is to start by using a template. You can take a look at birthday speech templates that make it easy for you to mix and match different parts of the sample speeches which can save a tremendous amount of time.

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Retirement Speech Tips

December 21, 2010

One of the more difficult types of speeches to write and deliver it to retirement speech. The reason for this of course is that most people in the course of their life only retire once. Unless of course you’re Michael Jordan:) What this means is that most people have no experience with writing a retirement [...]

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5 Things To Avoid In Your Eulogy

August 9, 2010

There’s plenty of advice out there about writing eulogies. Most writers focus on what we ought of do, and why we should get it done. While that is nice and correct, needed, it is not always enough. Every now and then we also need to know just what to avoid. We need to understand what [...]

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Wedding Anniversary Speeches

July 23, 2010

Wedding Anniversary Speeches are most commonly delivered by a close friend or family member of the happy couple. In this article, I’m going to outline how to brainstorm topics for a wedding anniversary speech that is touching and entertaining. Highlight the milestone in their life. For example, if the wedding anniversary speech is for a [...]

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Eulogies For Your Father

July 13, 2010

One of the most difficult speeches to write is the eulogy. Writing a eulogy for your father makes an already difficult task feel impossible. Here are my top five recommendations for father eulogies. Focus on one or two characteristics of your father. Of course you remember him as loving, funny, generous, etc. However, you want [...]

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Avoid Clichés In Your Speeches

March 7, 2010

One of the most irritating things to any audience is the use of clichés. I constantly come across cliches particularly in wedding speeches. You Must Avoid Clichés In Your Wedding Speech! Yes, this involves effort because clichés are often the first thing that pops into our minds when we write speeches. Here are a few [...]

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