wikiHow to Speak at a Funeral

Eulogizing someone can be a very difficult thing to do. You want to talk with affection about someone you've lost, but you don't want to fall apart. You may fall apart a little, but you'll see in the end that it's okay to let the other people present know how much this person meant to you.


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    Show up. You don't have to speak at all; simply showing up to be supportive is often enough. One can serve a great purpose by simply listening. Speaking is a very hard thing to do, especially if you were very close to the loved one.
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    Don't be afraid to cry. Losing someone you care a great deal about is always a tough experience. If you cry during your speech, you will only be letting those there know how very much the loss of this person affects you. However: the family and other friends are already struggling with their own grief. Some tears and honest show of emotions are fine. But if you cannot control it, and feel yourself about to go into a hysterical crying jag, excuse yourself and don't put the rest of the bereaved through your display.
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    Introduce yourself. Start out with your name, and let the audience know how you and the deceased met, or what your relationship was.
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    Remember where you are. This is a funeral. It is meant to give comfort to the family and friends, and to remember the deceased. It's not about you. If you are tempted to start (or continue) an argument, feel snubbed, shorted, or otherwise, just go home. Don't use the funeral as a personal platform to put the spotlight on yourself.
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    Share memories of the deceased's life. Funerals are sad, but also happy in a sense because you can be with others who loved this person, too, and you can all share your stories about him or her.
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    Say your last goodbye. It often helps to look on the body, the casket, or the grave directly, and say a private farewell to the loved one who has passed. Take your time. Some people put a flower on the casket or into the grave.
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    Remember the one who has passed on, and stand for him or her wherever you go. When someone passes, the best way we can honor him or her is to carry on in his or her place. When you do something your loved one would have loved, remember and take joy in the fact that you can do something that s/he would have done if s/he were still here. You can even do it in his or her memory, and it's a beautiful tribute to the person who passed, and to the love you had for him or her.


  • Refrain from telling outright jokes, though anecdotes may be used sparingly.
  • Follow cues from listeners,(i.e. if they are fidgeting, chances are you've over-extended your time.) Make your speech short but sweet. You don't need an hour, especially if several people will be speaking. Keep your speech to 10 minutes, maximum, unless you are a family member.
  • Dress in a nice manner, and be silent when you are not the speaker. Black is the best choice.
  • Don't do questions and answers. It's a funeral, not a celebrity panel.


  • Don't chew gum at a funeral, sigh loudly, drum your fingers, tap your feet, or hum/sing (if you've got enough nerve). They are both annoying and very disrespectful.

Things You'll Need

  • Tissue or hankies

Article Info

Categories: Death Funerals and Bereavement | Public Speaking