While speaking at a funeral may not be something that you necessarily want to be doing, being asked to speak at someone’s funeral is a great honor. But since you likely don’t do something like this very often, you might be unsure about the best way to go about making your speech.
To help you with this, here are three things to keep in mind when speaking at a funeral.
Make Eye Contact With The Audience
For most people, speaking in public can be a big fear. And if you add to this the pressure of speaking at the funeral of a friend or loved one, you may think that it’s something you simply can’t do. However, if you’re able to overcome your fears, you may find that speaking at a funeral can be cathartic for you.
When you are afraid of public speaking, you might find that you take on some bad habits. One of these bad habits may be getting too overwhelmed by the people in the audience. So to rise above this fear, James Reed, a contributor to Medium.com, recommends that you make eye contact with the audience. While this might feel weird at first, by spending a few sentences speaking directly to one audience member, it will help you feel more like you’re just having a conversation with that person rather than talking to a room full of people.
Have A Plan For When You Start To Cry
Even if you’re not typically an emotional person, being at a funeral can bring all kinds of emotions out of people. So as to not be taken by surprise by this, it’s best to think ahead to how you’ll handle it if you do start to cry while speaking.
According to Brett and Kate McKay, contributors to the Art Of Manliness, the best thing to do if you start to get choked up is to stop talking for a moment. Allow yourself to take a few deep breaths, pull yourself together, and then start again. This is totally understandable to everyone at the funeral, so try not to be too hard on yourself if this happens.
Keep Your Remarks Brief
Whether you have a lot to say about the person or you’re struggling to come up with something to share, Chris Raymond, a contributor to Very Well Health, advises that you try to keep your remarks brief. Ideally, you should shoot for speaking for about five minutes. In this time, focus on one or two qualities about the person or moments from their life to expound on.
If you’re going to be speaking at a funeral soon, consider using the tips mentioned above as you prepare for this event.