Someone has passed away. You need to do a eulogy speech as you are an important person in the life of the deceased. Perhaps, you were his boss, friend or relative.
Yes, I understand. It’s a difficult time to compose the speech or think about anything else for that matter. You would probably feel distraught and face difficulty to focus. Be cool. This is when the family of the deceased need you the most. If you freak out, you will be of no help to them.
The basic purpose of a eulogy speech is to praise or honor the deceased. Depending on your allocated time, you could probably cover 3 – 5 areas of accomplishments of the individual. Anecdotes to illustrate your points would certainly help. The speech should ideally be inspirational, pointing out the qualities of the individual and the meaning of the individual’s life, as well as relating that meaning to your own life.
Here’s a suggestion on how to start.
A good component to insert in a eulogy is a story about you and an interaction you had with the deceased. Your story could be funny or heart-wrenching. In fact, a mixture of both in the same story is great, or you could do one of each. Make sure you remain respectful of the dead though he / she could have been a slut, con-man, etc. Woe betide you if you anger the spirits of the dead (and living)
Here’s an example of a eulogy I wrote in honour of the late Michael Jackson. I wrote it a few days after he died.
In 1982, I got 7 distinctions in my SRP exam. I had set a record among my 5 other siblings. 2 years later, Michael won 8 Grammy Awards. He had set a new record among 1000’s of performing artistes that year. I saw him on TV receiving those awards. In my house, we had only 1 TV & my father insisted on watching Tamil movies all the time. Therefore, I had to rush over to my neighbor’s house just to watch Michael receive his Grammies. My neighbor’s TV was monochrome. So everybody was either black or white on TV.
This is the best I could do in terms of ‘interaction’ with the deceased but I trust that you get the point.
Your story could probably start with an event about how you met your loved one, or perhaps you could mention your earliest remembrance of them when you were a kid. Another suggestion would be to talk about a really great life lesson you learned from them and how it has helped you in your life.
Identify and illustrate the individual’s qualities, accomplishments, power and inspiration sources, and his / her impact on society and history. Use this individual’s qualities and accomplishments to inspire the audience.
Here’s another excerpt from my eulogy of Michael Jackson.
Many of his songs had a deep spiritual or motivational meaning. I particularly like his song, ‘The Man in the Mirror’. The lyrics of his chorus rings loud in my head every time I face a lot of problems around me.
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
In 1985, he heard that there were children dying of starvation in Africa. Did he keep quiet? No! He engaged the help of Lionel Ritchie. Together they wrote the song “We Are the World”.
The good news is you don’t have to read or memorize your words because you lived the experience. Just think in pictures and speak in pictures.
Just make a brief bullet point in your notes that would say something like, “Tell college story”, or whatever will briefly remind you of the story you want to tell.
Finally, I hope you don’t wait for someone to die before you start writing the eulogy. You can get sufficient practice by writing a “speaking in praise” speech for someone who is retiring from work, receiving an award, celebrating a birthday, etc using the same components mentioned earlier.
Now that you have gained some useful pointers on how to become a better public speaker, I encourage you not to stop here. Keep “sharpening your saw” by getting practical experience on public speaking. Grab the opportunity to speak in public as often as possible. The more stage time you accrue, the higher your self-esteem and confidence will become. Do purchase my book called Fearless Public Speaking at http://www.betterpublicspeaking.com/fearless-public-speaking-2/ This 11,500+ word book will give you more pointers towards becoming a seasoned orator. I look forward to that wonderful day in your life when you will become ‘complete’ and you will discover your true purpose in this world. May you discover it through your public speaking endeavors.
I wish you well.