You have been requested to deliver a tribute for a friend, a relative – possibly even your parent. What words should you use, and how should you deliver them? Should you adopt a humorous or solemn tone? Is it acceptable to shed tears? What should be the length of your speech? And when is the appropriate time to present it? It is probable that, unless you are a professional public speaker, this tribute will be a challenging responsibility. You are encapsulating someone’s existence in a brief speech (tip: do not speak for too long), and there is an abundance of content to cover. To provide assistance, we have compiled responses to some commonly asked queries about tributes:
What should I say?
The eulogy you deliver must be tailored to the personality and history of the deceased. For instance, it would be inappropriate to deliver a eulogy for a comedian without sharing some humorous anecdotes. However, if the deceased was a child, it would be insensitive to be funny. Instead, try to encapsulate what made the person unique or special. If the deceased was a woodworker, mention the exquisite piece of furniture they crafted for you and the painstaking effort that went into it. If they were an ardent nature lover, talk about their favorite spot and why it was so dear to them. If they cherished their family above all else, express this sentiment to the mourners and narrate instances when they demonstrated this affection. Above all, refrain from making the eulogy about yourself. Remember that you are recounting a chapter of someone else’s life, not your own.
How long should I speak?
The general guideline for a eulogy is brief. It should be about five minutes long, but should not exceed ten minutes. In the event that you are presenting alongside other speakers, aim to condense your remarks to three minutes. While this may seem challenging, it’s worth noting that Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which is regarded as one of the most significant speeches in American history, was delivered in just three minutes.
When will I be able to speak?
The options available to you could be influenced by the location and its regulations. A few places of worship may not approve of eulogies being given during a Funeral Mass. In such a case, you could consider delivering your speech at a visitation prior to the funeral or at a reception following the services. If you do get the go-ahead to speak at the church, it is advisable to have a chat with the pastor beforehand to ascertain if there are any formalities that you must adhere to.
Is it okay to cry?
A drop trickling out from the edge of your eye is acceptable. It is also acceptable to pause and gather your composure when you experience a sudden rush of sentiment. However, if you sense that you are on the verge of a complete breakdown and that you will not be able to deliver your speech, let someone else do it for you. Jot down your thoughts and request a trusted friend or relative to give the speech on your behalf. It is perfectly fine to be too overwhelmed with sorrow to speak. Everyone copes with grief in their own way.
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