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Guide to writing an Eulogy

Consider the Context and Circumstances

The tone of a eulogy is determined by the context of the person’s life and the circumstances of his/ her death. Be sensitive to the context and circumstances, though it need not necessarily have to be somber and downcast. It should be an honest narrative that is endearing and personal.. The injection of honesty can draw out the deceased’s personality and most beautiful qualities.

Consider the audience

Your eulogy should directed at the family and the person’s closest loved ones. At the same time, be as specific as possible about the person’s qualities and his life without alienating the majority of the audience.

Focus on identities

Briefly introduce yourself and describe your relationship to the person, the circumstances in which you first came to know him/ her. This would encompass a brief sketch about his/ her life from childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age. More importantly, who was he/ she to you, the eulogist? What will you miss and always remember most about the person? Focus on identities.

Be personal

Avoid a grocery list of qualities and characteristics. The best way to do so is to recall a particular encounter with the person or specific moment in time and illustrate it with a story borne out of your experiences. Talk to as many people as possible to get their impressions, memories and thoughts about the person. Compare those impressions and memories and contrast it with your own set of memories. At the same time, look for a common theme that unites those ideas and illustrate this theme with specific examples. No two eulogies are the same. Be personal.

Be concise and well-organised

A heartfelt eulogy has a proper structure to it. Avoid rambling on. Have in mind three to five minutes for the piece. More often than not, less is more. Have an outline but do not be too rigid. Forming an emotional connection with your audience through your eulogy entails crystalising your thoughts in a purposely manner. Be concise and well-organised.

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