It will eventually happen to everyone…losing someone you love. And then you may be asked to deliver the hardest speech you’ll ever give… a eulogy speech. Eulogy speeches are all different depending on the situation and which friends and family members happen to be there.

I just gave my first one for a very long-time friend and my former manager. He was the one person who took a chance on me when I first came to Hollywood and fought hard to get me work. It’s because of him that I ended up staring in several movies. But I wasn’t the only one. He was known for giving people a chance, whether it was actors, writers, directors or members of the crew.

So the fact that 300 people showed up didn’t surprise me. Many more wanted to come but were working on sets. His assistant put together the memorial service, which was more of a celebration of life. An incredible life that started as a child actor and ended up producing or casting over 450 movies.

Several of us asked or were asked to give a speech to celebrate his life. I watched the others as someone who speaks for a living would. Some were actors, who already had a performing background, but most just wanted to express their thanks for knowing my friend and former manager. I had never given a eulogy before, so I didn’t really have anything to base it on. I just went with what I really felt, as did everyone else.

As an audience member I made notes of the ones that were really good and wanted to write out some bullet points for anyone who is put in the position of having to give a eulogy:

 

How to Give a Eulogy Speech:

  • Speak from your heart – This will probably be easy to do since you’ll be talking about someone you loved or at least liked a lot. The passion you have will translate and will touch the audience since they will probably feel the same about the person.
  • Keep it brief – It’s hard to sum up someone’s life in a matter of minutes, but you do want to keep the speech as brief as possible, like maybe 3-5 minutes. Less than 3 probably isn’t enough time, and more than 5 starts to be too much for the audience. Which leads me to the next point.
  • Make it for the audience – A eulogy is a time to give the deceased their spotlight. Just like a regular speech, include the audience in it and make them feel like they are a part of the experience.
  • Share stories – People like to hear stories that they can relate to. They may not have the same exact stories as you, but if it relates to the person’s personality, the audience will relate and be able to share in the memory. This is a good place to put in some humor.
  • Add humor – This probably depends on the friends, family, and the situation, but I think anything is better when you add a little humor. This eases the tension the audience is already feeling and gives them a good way to take a slight breather from their grief.
  • Add pathos – The emotion will probably come out in your speech anyway if you deliver it with passion. But adding some pathos along with the humor will touch them deeply.
  • Keep it real – This was the most important thing I noticed. No one is an angel and no one is perfect. Show a little of the person’s imperfections, instead of painting them as perfect. It’ll ring truer and will probably get a laugh out of the audience since they will be thinking the same thing.

A eulogy speech may be the hardest speech you’ll ever give, but will probably be one of the most important.

 

 

 

 


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