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Many people are intimidated by public speaking. Being asked to give a eulogy or read a poem at a funeral can increase that anxiety because of the emotional element. You may be worried that you’ll break down or that you won’t do right by the loved one’s memory. All the articles about improving your public speaking skills won’t change the emotional aspect of talking in front of other mourners. Here are tips for speaking at a funeral to help you honor the deceased while delivering your part of the service.

Write Down What You Plan To Say

Even if you’re reading a poem or scripture that you’ve memorized, have a crib sheet with the words you want to say. Start with any introduction you want to say about your selection and finish with your conclusion. If you’re giving the eulogy, write down every section. When you’re in front of the audience, this sheet will help you avoid going down a rabbit trail to stay on point.

Keep It Short and Sweet

Know how much time is being allotted to your selection. If you’re giving a eulogy, you probably shouldn’t go over 10 minutes, but five to seven minutes is better. A reading shouldn’t take too long, maybe two to three minutes. Don’t take more time than you’ve been given to be fair to everyone else who is speaking and to the audience. Do remember to include an introduction of yourself and how you’re connected to the deceased.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Most people don’t have a lot of experience in public speaking, so practice will help you be more confident about how you sound while you’re in front of people. A funeral has an added emotional component, so practice will help you deliver your selection more effectively. The first time you read your eulogy or reading, it can be difficult to say the words without getting teary-eyed. Practicing can help you get through your reading without breaking down. It can make sure you don’t speak too fast or too slow.

Stay Positive

It can be difficult to know exactly what to talk about in a eulogy. Emphasize the positive aspects of the deceased to focus on the legacy of the loved one. Think about anecdotes that illustrate the points you want to make. If you do use humor, be cautious that it will land well with the audience. Writing down your words and practicing in front of someone else can help you sound poised so the mourners can focus on the deceased.

Remember the Reason

Speaking at a funeral may be uncomfortable. Keep reminding yourself that you’re doing it to remember the person who died. The audience is there for the same purpose. They’re all on your side. No one is grading you. You are speaking to honor your friend. It’s much different than speaking in front of your peers in school.

Make Eye Contact While You’re Speaking

When you’re actually speaking during the funeral, make eye contact with the audience. You have a script, but you don’t have to read from it word by word. Look out into the audience to make your selection seem more personal. Don’t worry if you become emotional. Pause, take a deep breath to compose yourself and continue. Everyone in the audience will understand.

Speaking at a Funeral Is a Gift

Giving a eulogy or a reading at a funeral isn’t easy. It is something you can do to honor the deceased in a special way. It’s also a gift to the mourners who need to hear your words. Plan to do your best for your loved one because that’s all that is being asked.

Category: Funeral

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