After doing all the work in the trenches preparing your speech, it is time for you to turn your attention to a good delivery. The way you address the audience is perhaps the most important part of the eulogy. This is where you build the bridge between the life of the person being eulogized and the people there to honor it.
The delivery can be particularly challenging for a eulogy. Not only are you dealing with the shock or grief of losing a loved one, but you must also work to manage the stress of public speaking. Follow these tips to help insure a smooth delivery:
- Write your speech out and practice it. Rehearsing helps you to know what kind of changes to make. Words and phrases sound differently when you hear them compared to just reading them.
- Practicing also helps you get comfortable. Running through the speech a few times will help ease some of the emotion of it.
- Use a mirror. The mirror will help you see what the audience will see. It may reveal some undesired mannerisms that you may be unaware of. Remember, this is an emotional time and emotions take you out of your usual speaking mode.
- Practice in front of others. They can help you evaluate appropriateness and assist you with ensuring some light-hearted elements are present.
It is important to have a conversational tone to your delivery. You are not making a business presentation; you are sharing and celebrating the life of someone that everyone in the room cared about. You are not talking at them, but with them.
It is recommended that you not try to memorize your speech. Under the circumstances, you certainly do not need the added pressure. It is perfectly okay to have your written speech, or at least your notes, with you.
Doing what you can to put yourself at ease for the eulogy is invaluable. Beforehand, check out the room and the podium. Familiarize yourself with the environment so you know what to expect.
Wear comfortable but appropriate clothes. No one showed up to evaluate your wardrobe. It is important not to be distracted by tight or restrictive clothing.
Do what you can to relax yourself before speaking. Take your time, pause when you need to, and take a deep breath. It is also helpful to have some water with you.
Remember, this is going to be a very sympathetic audience. The delivery is your gift to them and they are grateful. They appreciate your willingness to speak.