Speaking at funerals
Far from being a natural ability, public speaking is a skill that develops with time and practice. When it comes to speaking at emotional events such as funerals, the task becomes all the more difficult as you have to deal with other emotions as well as stress. Here are some suggestions prepared by Crématorium Montreal for successful speaking at funerals.
Stress, the enemy of public speaking
It is well known that more than half of all adults say they feel a great deal of stress before speaking in public. Clammy hands, palpitations, dry mouth, hot flashes and stuttering are all symptoms of stress, experienced at different intensities by everyone. For some people, it can cause intestinal or digestive problems, or even dizziness. Stress undermines self-confidence and can lead to a loss of up to 50% of communication skills. If you are uncomfortable speaking in public, you can be well prepared and put all the chances of success on your side when the time comes.
Preparing well: some suggestions
As with many things, preparation is the key to success. For a eulogy or a funeral tribute, it’s not much different. Get a head start and write your text by choosing your words carefully. This will allow you to adequately illustrate each idea and each step of your tribute. Next, practise reading your eulogy aloud in front of a mirror, a pet or a loved one. This will help you refine your text, adjust your tone, respect the time allotted for your speech and better manage your emotions on the day of the funeral. In addition, don’t forget to speak from the heart. A speech that is felt is worth a thousand times more than a scrupulously memorized speech. It will touch your audience more. Finally, to feel comfortable, wear appropriate attire for the event. This will make you feel more confident in front of the crowd.
On the day itself
Even if the stress is getting to you and you feel like everyone in the audience is staring at you, stay calm, composed and grounded when you give your eulogy. Be sure to speak standing up, as this will allow those present to see you well and will also project your voice better. In addition, remember to speak slowly to give people time to think about what you are saying. Nervousness often causes us to speak too quickly. Moreover, try not to read your text word for word; express yourself in your own words. If at any point you lose the thread of your eulogy due to too much emotion, just pause, take a deep breath and go back to the beginning of your thought. If you have a memory lapse, you can also tie it in to a concrete personal experience with the deceased and simply talk about it. Remember that the audience is also overcome with emotion; they are there to support you, not judge you. And lastly, if you have difficulty looking at the audience, try to find a few familiar faces to focus on during your eulogy. Looking at the back of the room or scanning the room regularly with your eyes are other options that will enable you to sustain your audience’s interest, while concentrating on your words.
The eulogy or funeral tribute is a celebration of the life of the deceased. It not only consoles the people attending the funeral, but also comforts them by soothing their thoughts. For a cremation, Crématorium Montréal offers you the possibility of organizing a small ceremony in the cremation room to say goodbye to your loved one. If you have to speak at a funeral, remember to breathe and speak from the heart.