Writing a speech to be delivered in front of a group of people is intimidating. As someone who has just lost a relative as near and dear as a grandmother, this intimidation will only increase. However, giving the eulogy at a funeral or service is a privilege and opportunity to intimately honor your grandmother. Let us help make your eulogy flawless with our objectivity and expertise. As an assistance to you, we have drafted a tutorial for honoring your grandmother with a heartfelt eulogy.
Of course, every eulogy sounds a bit different. No one will write what you write or present the way you do. The steps below do not have to govern your speech, and are merely offered as advice. Missing your grandmother is difficult enough without writers block and the nervousness of making a mistake in front of everyone who cared for her. Our comprehensive suggestions are sure to help you move in the right direction, but for more complete assistance, please contact us at 320-4-EULOGY (320-438-5649).
This tutorial is by no means the absolute authority on eulogy writing. In fact, your eulogy will be unique because your grandmother was one of a kind, as are you. We acknowledge that. The advice below is instead intended to make the process more streamlined and efficient for your benefit. We know it is difficult to say goodbye to someone as special as your grandmother, and we want to stand by your side as you compose a speech that will forever honor her life.
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Your eulogy should be a conversational conveyance of what is most admirable, beautiful and unique about your grandmother. There is no need to include dry, biographical snippets as you would in an obituary. Instead, tell stories, share anecdotes, and guide your audience in a celebration of your grandmother’s life and legacy. Make tribute to your grandmother with a carefully-composed eulogy from the heart. The components are as follows:
Before generating the actual body of the speech, it is recommended you formulate thoughts, ideas, and inspiration about your grandmother. Consider perusing photos, talking with her family and friends, and engrossing yourself in memories of her. Take notes through the entire process to ensure that you have thought of everything there could be to say about your precious grandmother.
Many people find reflection on their recently lost loved one to be an emotional roller coaster. We understand that. Sometimes it is easy to recount countless anecdotes and memories of the deceased; in other situations, their passing might create a dry-well repressed by grief.
While you are the designated person to deliver this eulogy, you are not alone. Discussing your grandmother with others who knew and loved her can be a great way to generate ideas for your speech and ease some of the tension of talking about her in the past tense.
Discerning the appropriate tone for a eulogy can be sensitive, but is essential to its composition. The tone of the speech decides what stays and goes from the information gathered during brainstorming. Further, the tone should match the venue, the circumstances, and above all, the personality of your dear grandmother. If your grandmother was most well known for being a demure, nurturing matriarch, the tone of your eulogy should be as such. On the other hand, if your grandmother was a daring spitfire, the tone should be approached that way.
Of course, a mix of tones can work if exercised at the right times and always with respect to the deceased and grieving. Oftentimes, people are multifaceted, and it is likely your grandmother was equal parts bold and motherly. Tone is something that is easy to lose in subjectivity and closeness – a distanced third party ear may help you differentiate and choose the best angle.
Scour all of your notes about your grandmother, and seek out patterns and ideas. Craft the message of your eulogy from those thoughts. Be sure to touch on her various facets and the most important bits of her personality. Organize thoughts into categories such as achievements, characteristics, and influence – Or, organize them by chronology, speaking from her life as a child, as a mother to your parent, and as a grandmother. It is important for your points to flow in some way so that your audience is clear at all sections of your eulogy.
It is also vital not to waste too much time giving the audience the rundown of biographical details about your grandmother. For the most part, your audience is a group of people already somewhat educated on that topic. Instead, celebrate the highlights of her life by bringing in personal stories and perspectives and those you gathered from others in the brainstorming process.
Determining a time limit for your eulogy is a great precursor to beginning the writing process and knowing what to cut and what to include. Some venues for funerals and memorial services offer a limit for the eulogy as a portion of the overall procession. Others offer more flexibility in speaking times. If you are left without a limit, 5-7 minutes is probably acceptable. Consider the thought that a eulogy too long will lose audience interest and be a cumbersome task for the giver, whereas too much brevity will seem uncaring and disinterested. Your grandmother deserves a proper homage, not too long or too short.
We strenuously recommend outlining your eulogy before attempting to write it; this will keep thoughts organized and compartmentalized, allowing for proper transition and flow. However, we realize this is difficult to orchestrate well, so we are also available to help develop or review your outline and help clarify your direction.
It is risky to deliver a eulogy without a written form to guide it. In fact, we strongly suggest against it. Far too many go into a eulogy expecting that because they were close with the deceased, the words will come. In these cases, eulogies sound forced or inorganic, they move far too rapidly, and they are not organized in any navigable way. This is not the way to honor your lovely grandmother or represent your relationship to her. Do not “wing it.”
You intend your eulogy to be a tribute to your grandmother’s life and legacy. She deserves a proper outline to begin your writing process. Once you begin actually writing your eulogy, you will be thankful that you compiled an outline to know which direction to take next. Also, consider that you were chosen for or granted the opportunity to give this celebratory speech; delivering it tactfully is a sign of respect.
Keep your eulogy simple, conversational, and heartfelt for best results. Do not overcomplicate your language, as presenters are wont to do. Instead, write your eulogy in a way that would sound as though it came from you – because it does.
Wondering where to begin? Consider the dual purpose of your eulogy’s introduction. First, it is to present yourself and your reason for speaking. Many people in your audience will know you or know of you, but it is important to be clear on the closeness of your relationship to your grandmother. You do not need to defend why you are the person who is giving the eulogy, but instead, have the audience trust your understanding of your grandmother by validating the intimate bond between the two of you. The other essential purpose in the introduction is to preview what you will discuss. There is no need to provide a full menu of the stories and quirks you will share. Instead, give a brief preview of the journey you will be taking them on; let them understand your purpose.
At this point, be aware of your tone and express it to the audience. If you plan to make them roar with laughter at all the shenanigans your grandmother got into during her life, give them a clue. If your plan is to outfit your audience with a better understanding of the woman as a mother, grandmother, and giver, begin with that. Keep in mind that this is the portion of the eulogy that will engage your listeners and encourage them to stay tuned.
Share what you have planned and written with light-hearted respect and a celebratory attitude. It is not disrespectful to enjoy telling stories about your grandmother. Chances are she would have loved to see you elicit laughter or misty reminiscence in your audience instead of further remorse. Follow your organized and well-planned outline for best results in the body of your eulogy.
What do you want your audience to remember most about your grandmother? The final statements of your eulogy will become a part of that legacy and they should be chosen carefully. Wrap up all of the thoughts shared in your eulogy, and be sure to express thankfulness at getting to honor her this way before parting on a final, impactful statement. This statement is likely to stick with the listeners for days or longer.
Once your eulogy is written, you may feel like you want to wash your hands of it until it comes time to present. You will find, however, that with the microphone in hand you will regret not editing and proofing your piece of writing before delivery. It is natural for any human to make mistakes, for we are fallible. Understand, however, that in a time of stress and grief you may make more mistakes than normal, and it is best to review your work carefully.
We recommend taking a break between writing and editing to clear the words from your mind. When you return refreshed, you may be surprised at the errors you catch which may have been overlooked before. Having another set of eyes look at the speech is wise as well. Read the words aloud to make sure they all flow together nicely and make sense in their current organization.
Some presenters cannot imagine holding a piece of paper to read their speech and prefer to memorize it instead to feel natural on the day they present. Others would never manage to memorize their entire eulogy and prefer to read it verbatim, making certain that nothing is missed. Others still will balance these two approaches by semi-memorizing portions of the speech and keeping note cards for handy reference.
You are the only one who knows which approach will work for you. The most important thing is to familiarize yourself with your eulogy in some way so that on the day it is to be delivered, you are ready.
Memorization is not for everyone. Major complaints of a memorized speech include forgetting a part, losing the whole thing or finding that the delivery is too rehearsed and awkward.
Recommendations for successful memorization include memorizing a section at a time: once once piece is down, add the next seciton to it. Also, it is recommended to memorize without vocal inflection, and add inflection when presenting. If a speech is memorized with inflection already in place, it may sound awkward to the audience.
Do be careful not to leave out the most beautiful, eloquent, or impactful portions of your speech because they were not written on your cards. Instead, make note of the best parts and rehearse carefully to ensure that nothing important is left behind.
While the major disadvantage to reading your speech is typically a loss of eye contact or a noticeably monotone delivery, rest assured that these can be overcome with practice. It is wise to print your speech on note cards instead of full-sized pages to minimize fidgeting during your delivery.
Any method can work if it suits the presenter. The most important rehearsal step is practice, practice, practice. Repetition will ensure familiarity whether you are memorized to the hilt or flawlessly well-versed in reading your eulogy. Practicing to your own reflection in the mirror can also help detect fidgeting hand movements, eye contact issues, or other physical discomfort that presents itself when giving a speech. Rectify these, and you will be on your way to eulogy perfection.
It is common to be nervous or anxious before delivering a speech of any kind. It is even more understandable, then, that you would be anxious or nervous about delivering a eulogy on top of the stress and grief from the loss of your grandmother. Never fear. We have developed a few key pieces of advice that are certain to help ease your nerves and improve your delivery, leaving your audience with a beautiful eulogy experience for your grandmother.
Though it may sound odd, it is probably best to rehearse and deliver your eulogy markedly slower than you might think necessary. This is because when anxiety and nerves catch hold of our speech, we begin to talk very quickly. In reality, speaking deliberately and slowly will soothe your nerves better than sped-up speech; in addition, your audience is much more likely to understand you.
Allow yourself to feel the anxiety you are experiencing and take a deep breath. It is likely that you will make a mistake somewhere along your presentation, but remember, everyone in the audience knows how that feels and will be willing to forgive. In the event that you do stumble on a word or forget your place, pause gracefully and regain composure before moving on. In the end, it will not be your one small error they remember, it will be the beautiful eulogy you created on behalf of your grandmother.
Be sure to engage in balanced eye contact throughout the room while speaking. Staring at the back wall of the room will render your delivery cold and distant. On the other hand, focusing too directly on one section of the audience may leave those individuals uncomfortable or distract you from your speech.
Enunciated syllables and attention to volume are both key to a foolproof eulogy delivery. For best results, determine whether your venue is providing a microphone and speaker system or whether you will need to rely on the strength of your own voice for projection to the crowd. If a microphone is provided, testing the technology ahead of time is recommended.
In the event that no sound system is available, especially in outdoor settings, plan to project your voice significantly louder than you would expect. It is imperative that your eulogy rises above the audible environmental distractions so your listeners are attentive to the speech.
It is a feeling of pride and liberation that accompanies the delivery of a eulogy. You have just honored your grandmother in a way no one else could – with your insights, your voice, and your dedication. Congratulate yourself on a job well done, because your grandmother would have certainly been appreciative.
Call 320-4-EULOGY (320-438-5649) for expert advice and assistance through any and all portions of the eulogy writing process. It would be an honor to partake in acknowledging your deceased loved one in a comprehensive and respectful manner.