What are some tips for writing a heartwarming funeral speech?
From highlighting their best qualities to sharing a beautiful memory, here are 9 answers to the question, “What are some tips for writing a heartwarming funeral speech?”
- Highlight their Best Qualities
- Short Speeches Can Be Good Too
- Use the Hero’s Journey to Structure Your Speech
- Tell a One-of-a-kind Story
- Being Honest and in Tune With Your Emotions
- Speak from the Heart and Be Genuine
- Talk About the Meaningful Interactions You Had
- Practice by Yourself First
- Share a Single, Beautiful Memory
Highlight their Best Qualities
Your speech is meant to honor the deceased, and not yourself. Avoid talking about your own life experiences and memories with the deceased, and instead, choose anecdotes that highlight their qualities. Your audience will appreciate hearing about qualities they may not have known about the deceased, rather than stories that primarily serve as a reflection of your relationship with them.
Matthew Ramirez, CEO, Rephrasely
Short Speeches Can Be Good Too
All the best speeches, regardless of whether they’re for a funeral, wedding, or any other occasion, don’t drag on for too long. Sure, pour out all your emotions into the speech, but don’t feel pressured into creating a long one. It’s not a contest, and if you feel like two to three minutes is enough to convey your grief, it’s perfectly fine. What matters is what you say, not how long it takes.
Natalia Brzezinska, Marketing & Outreach Manager, UK Passport Photo
Use the Hero’s Journey to Structure Your Speech
Often, people who are not professional writers are expected to give eulogies and other speeches and don’t know where to start. Try honoring someone’s life by structuring your speech as if it were a hero’s journey. This is a popular way to tell the story of a hero who goes on an adventure, faces adversity, comes out victorious, and emerges transformed by the end. Many popular books and movies follow this format, so it’s ingrained in people’s minds and when you tell stories in this way, they immediately categorize the characters as heroes, villains, mentors, and other roles. You’ll do the recently deceased person a huge honor by casting them as the hero of their own story, and you’ll bring warmth and peace to the people who loved them.
Dennis Consorte, Digital Marketing & Leadership Consultant for Startups, Snackable Solutions
Tell a One-of-a-kind Story
We recently lost a family pet. It was the kids’ first “family” death they had experienced, so we held a funeral so they could understand its significance. My husband copied a eulogy he found online to say over our beloved dog. While the words were sweet and “true,” they felt hollow and plain. What makes a funeral speech so powerful is its uniqueness to the person for whom it is written. If those same words could be said of anyone, the speech will lack any form of warmth and personalization.
That’s why I suggest building your speech around a specific story about the person you are honoring. Put the person into perspective for listeners, whether it’s a special memory you had with them, something you’ll never forget about them, or a kind gesture they did. The sentiments you share can all tie back into the story to support your examples. Personalization creates impact and connects your feelings with your words. That’s really all you need to create a lasting impact.
Alli Hill, Founder and Director, Fleurish Freelance
Being Honest and in Tune With Your Emotions
Grieving for someone is an unbearable heartbreak that every person goes through. It devastates your being and impacts your life in many ways. Talking about a loved one who has passed away can never be easy. Capturing someone’s life-worth of memories and stories in a few paragraphs is never enough.
Being honest and in tune with your emotions is an acceptable way to write your speech for a funeral. The stories you have shared with the departed are now yours to share and cherish with others. There are no rules on how you want to grieve for your loss. Allow yourself to feel and heal at your own pace and time.
Laura Martinez, Consultant and Content Writer, PersonalityMax
Speak from the Heart and Be Genuine
A heartwarming funeral speech should be written from the heart, with sincerity and emotion. Avoid reading pre-written material or reciting a list of facts about the deceased person’s life; instead, use anecdotes to illustrate their unique character and key contributions to the lives of those around them. Think about how their loss has made an impact on you, and draw on this emotion to make your words come alive.
Grace He, People and Culture Director, teambuilding.com
Talk About the Meaningful Interactions You Had
The best way to write a funeral speech is to write several interactions that you had with the person that were meaningful to you. Make each interaction display a different part of their character.
Talk about the time you went to the park and you lost your ice cream as a kid. Talk about the time they helped you buy your first car – but only provided that they get the first ride. Talk about the time they went to a party in costume, but it turned out not to be a costume party. These sorts of interactions come across as sincere – and because they are what happened between you both, there is nothing there that will be judged poorly or be overly inappropriate.
In your final statements, wrap up all the interactions and discuss the qualities the person meant to you. For example, “And because of these things, I will always remember Uncle Bruce as an intelligent, funny, and very kind man.” Funeral speeches don’t need to be overly long – keep them to the point. Good luck!
Andy Ide, Founder & Director, HorseRecords
Practice by Yourself First
When my grandfather passed away, I gave his eulogy. It spoke on his strengths, acknowledged his imperfections, and honored his life. I genuinely loved the man and was able to convey it to the guests attending his funeral.
When I wrote the eulogy, I was a mess. When I practiced the eulogy, I was still a mess. It took a lot of times practicing the eulogy by myself in a motel parking lot at night to get it down. I had to desensitize myself to the fact that a man I revered is no longer with us.
Desensitizing myself to this reality did not make his eulogy any less heartfelt; it made me coherent and able to give him a proper send-off without falling apart.
Nick Varga, Chief Riding Officer, ERide Journal
Share a Single, Beautiful Memory
With so much pressure, it’s easy to overwhelm a eulogy with too many ideas. But the best speeches give listeners one, clear take-away. While it can be difficult to zero in on just one memorable trait about your loved one, doing so will create a much more memorable speech.
Jot down a list of everything you loved about the person. Were they optimistic? Driven? Kind? Energetic? Get every trait down on paper. Then look for the common threads. What one descriptor best captures the most unique, memorable thing about them? That’s your topic – not the person in general, but the one, specific trait that stands out most.
Now, build up your speech with one, great story. What’s one personal interaction – however minor – you had with that person that demonstrates the trait you chose? Don’t be tempted to throw out the little things. A tiny act of kindness is often more moving than a major accomplishment. Focus on telling that one story with detail and care. A single memory is a beautiful tribute.
Amanda Edgar, CEO and Certified Ghostwriter, DAS Author Services
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