If you have to speak in the funeral services, you may feel nervous about addressing everyone. After all, this is a very trying period filled with dark emotions. First and foremost, you must remember that giving a eulogy or a speech that gives tribute to the deceased’s life is an honor. It is a task that is given to close family and friends.
Next, you must put in the effort to craft an amazing speech. If you don’t know how to write a eulogy, read up on articles that can help you compose an amazing one. Include the life of the deceased, accomplishments, and memorable anecdotes. Use words that come from your heart. Now, all you have to do is to learn how to deliver your eulogy without becoming a hot mess on the podium.
It is normal for people to shed a few tears at the funeral. No one will judge you for that because everyone feels sad. It is a reality that you and all the rest of the crowd will become emotional. However, it is understandable that you don’t want to be a snot-filled and crumbling mess in front of others. Shedding a tear or two looks heart-warming, but uncontrollable crying will make everyone feel awkward. Consider the following tips to help you feel composed and controlled when saying your eulogy:
Give Yourself Time to Practice
Some say that practice makes perfect. Indeed there is some truth to that adage. And if you cannot be perfect, at least you can do better. Take time to practice your speech in front of a friend. If you can’t find anyone to listen, you can even do it in front of a mirror. Practicing will make a lot of difference as you become more familiar with the words. Even if you pause in the actual memorial services, this familiarity will help anchor you to the sequence of the speech, allowing you to pick up where you left off quickly.
Practicing several times will show you the strong and weak points of your speech. As such, you can improve your work and strengthen your composition. Most importantly, the art of practicing will reveal the parts wherein you’re most likely to become too emotional. With this, you can brace yourself and prepare.
Find a Supportive Person Ahead
No man is an island. In trying times, you need support more than ever. It would help if you identified this point person ahead. Choose a relative or friend to sit up front where you will deliver the speech. If you feel as if you’re about the break, look at this support person. Make eye contact and take a deep calming breath. Instruct this person to give you a non-verbal cue like a thumbs up or a big smile. This should offer you comfort and encouragement when things begin to get rough.
Moreover, give this person a copy of your speech. If it becomes too hard for you to talk, he or she can just finish it on your behalf. Remember, no one will judge you for it if you cannot talk due to a burst of emotion. Chances are, everyone feels just the same as you.
Eat Before Giving the Speech
No one can perform their task on an empty stomach. The hunger pangs will only make you feel even more uncomfortable. As the stomach acid pools in your belly, you may even get a tummy ache. And that is the last thing you need when you have to talk and address a crowd! Do yourself a favor and eat a light, nourishing meal before the speech.
Stay away from very oily, rich foods as this may cause indigestion too. The key is to get healthy nutrients to have enough energy and strength to accomplish your responsibility. This meal also assures you can get through the whole service with ease. An empty stomach will make you feel even more sad and depressed. Most of all, don’t forget to keep a water bottle next to you. Take a sip before you get up on stage to give your eulogy.
Remember to Take Deep Breaths
Breathing is a normal bodily function that you usually don’t have to think about. It will happen automatically for all human beings. However, when you are under duress, you may forget to breathe properly. This usually happens when you’re feeling stressed or nervous. If you feel this way before giving your eulogy, take a few calming breaths.
Do deep breathing before your speech so you can clear your mind and relax your nerves. As you give your speech, be aware of your breathing so you can pace yourself and avoid speaking too fast. If you get to a point where you feel like crying, taking a deep calming breath may just ward off the tears.
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Remember who you are giving this eulogy for. The beautiful memory of your departed loved one should provide you with enough motivation to keep going. More than that, it will inspire you to do a beautiful job. After all, you are honoring this person’s life and speaking of the legacy he or she has left behind. Visualize as if you are speaking with the deceased and think of your happy moments together. Don’t forget to highlight these memories in your speech so you and everyone else will find a reason to smile.
You may also find that including tasteful and fun anecdotes in your speech is very comforting. These stories will lighten up the mood. With your audience’s positive response, you’ll feel more confident speaking to a crowd. Above all else, don’t forget that your speech is a celebration of a life so beautifully lived. As such, if you release a few tears of joy and sorrow while you talk, everyone will understand.