The Eulogy Resource Center
3. Have a back-up reader - Designate someone as back-up in case you are unable to read the eulogy. If you become overwhelmed with emotion, it’s alright to wait a minute to re-group. Some people want to have someone join them and continue reading the eulogy on their behalf. It’s a good idea to provide your back-up person with a copy of the eulogy before hand so they can review it and be ready to fill in for you should the need arise.
4. Practice reading it out loud - Practice reading your eulogy out loud. Even if it’s memorized, perfectly written and you feel confident – practice reading it out loud. Standing and reading something out loud for the first time can be daunting. Force yourself to go into the bathroom or some other private place and speak the words aloud. It helps to have someone listen and give you feedback. One time through will take the edge off. Two times through will increase your confidence and three times through you’ll find yourself improvising and quite comfortable with the eulogy. Ideally, see if you can practice reading the eulogy out loud at the ceremony site.
5. Seek help - Ask family and friends for their stories about the departed. You can incorporate these stories into your eulogy or invite them to come forward and tell the story themselves.
6. Water & Tissues– it can help to have a water bottle and some tissues with you during the eulogy. A sip of water may help you speak and give you a needed momentary break. If you do tear up, it helps to have a tissue handy.
7. Large Font – make sure the font is large enough to easily read the eulogy. Also, consider double or even triple spacing the lines of text.
8. Copy the reading/poem/scripture – have the text to poems and reading included in the body of your eulogy. Having the eulogy on sheets of paper is more manageable than juggling books and pieces of paper.
1. Speak from the Heart - Perfection is not the goal. The point is to simply express good feelings and experiences about the departed. You may have very little time to prepare, just speak from your heart.
2. Write it out - Writing out your eulogy is the safest way to express all you want to say, the way you want to say it. Don’t rely on memory or inspiration. You don’t want to to drift off topic or lose the thread connecting your ideas. Having the written text available doesn't mean you need to read it word-for-word. Make a few notes of key points and put them on a note card or sheet of paper. You will want to write out quotes poems so you have the exact words available to read.
9. Laugh – don’t be afraid to include a funny stories or incidents in the eulogy.
10. Say Thank you – express your gratitude to those present for coming. Say how much it means to the family.
11. Speak slowly and breathe - When we are nervous, we tend to speak too quickly. By speaking slowly, you give yourself time to think and choose your words. You also give people time to take in and think about what you’re saying.