Funeral speech at a funeral
The last farewell with the deceased may be approached from different angles. Funeral, as a rule, respects either the wishes of the deceased, or the approach is agreed upon among the closest family that organizes the funeral. In case you will choose a funeral with ceremony (either in a church or in crematorium), an option to deliver a funeral speech will be offered. It is good to know that incorporating a funeral speech into the program of the ceremony is for you to decide. If you do not like the idea of a funeral speech, you can have a short ceremony with music.
If you want a few words to be said about the deceased, you will need to decide how to approach the funeral speech.
On this page you will find these pieces of information: Who will be the speaker – How to write a funeral speech (outline) – The delivery of a funeral speech – Funeral speech templates
What is a funeral speech
A funeral speech is a speech delivered by a chosen speaker, taking place during a funeral with a ceremony. The goal of such speech is to reminisce about the deceased, remember their life and allow the people present to say last goodbye to the deceased. The preparation of the funeral speech is very important. In this text we will therefore advise you how to prepare everything. Before anything else, it is appropriate to clear out and think through these points:
- Who will be the speaker – a professional speaker, or one of the relatives or friends? Will there be only one speaker, or will there be more of them? In what order will they speak?
- How long will the speech be and what should be mentioned? What will each speaker say?
- When and where the speaker will speak, where they will be seated, where they will stand and where they will go after the speech?
In the following text, we will give advice how to approach these things.
Who will deliver the speech at the funeral?
When ordering the funeral, the funeral home will offer you the possibility of a professional speaker to deliver the speech at the funeral. This is arranged either by the funeral home or by the ceremonial hall where the funeral will take place. These speakers have templates prepared for the funeral speeches; they will only ask you to fill in some information about the life of the deceased. Obviously, they will give you their speech to authorise beforehand. The advantage of a professional funeral speaker is their experience with public speaking; they will speak slowly, calmly and without stuttering. Also, the speaker’s appearance and clothing will be professional. The disadvantage is that the speech will not appear so personal.
Another option is that the funeral speech will be delivered by a relative or a friend. There is no rule about who it should be. It is appropriate to choose someone who knew the deceased well and will not have a problem delivering the speech. It is really an intense moment and even experienced speakers sometimes have a problem delivering the speech comprehensibly and clearly. In some cases, several speeches may be combined. In this case it is important to set the order and harmonize the content of the speeches so that the speeches would not be repetitive. That’s why having only one speaker is easier to handle.
How to prepare a funeral speech, the recommended outline
A funeral speech does not have a strictly given outline and it is appropriate to adjust it to the ceremony, to consider whether it would be traditionally formal or more relaxed, whether it takes place among the closer family circle or in the wider circle of friends, or even the public. It is also important to consider the length of the speech. Below, we will recommend the information to include in the funeral speech, and in what order.
A funeral speech outline
- Addressing the guests
- Introduction of oneself and mentioning of the relationship to the deceased
- Introduction of the deceased
- A quick summary of life, traits and successes of the deceased
- Farewell and condolences to the family
Contents of a funeral speech
The speech should reflect the speaker’s relationship to the deceased and should include honest sympathy. It is good to avoid clichés; those could feel dishonest. The speech is meant primarily for the closest friends and family and should help them reminisce and say farewell to the deceased. The funeral speech should not mention any negative traits of the deceased. If you want to mention anything negative, you need to soften it. If you do not know how to say something in particular, it is best to follow simple and basic phrases and pieces of information.
Life should be summarized in only few points. Usually, the speech says where the deceased was born and where they lived, how many siblings they had, where they studied and worked, their marriage and offspring. It is also possible to mention any other important moments from the life of the deceased, such as accomplishments, hobbies or passions. It is appropriate to mention a typical characteristic, catchphrase or a favourite quote of the deceased. This will make the funeral speech more personal and remind people about the deceased. Sometimes, it is good to mention a situation or a story about the speaker and the deceased, but it is important to choose this situation sensitively with regard to the situation and the funeral guests.
Funeral speech delivery
It is not only important for the speech to have good contents, but to be delivered properly as well. The situation can be very tense for the speaker and not everyone can handle the situation.
The funeral speech should be prepared in advance, as improvisation is difficult for most people and with other emotion, it may not pay off. We recommend preparing the funeral speech in advance and trying it out several times at home in front of a relative (so the relative would help you with formulation and provide you with some feedback). Take the funeral speech written on a piece of paper with you, even if you remember it by heart.
The speaker should be dressed properly; in certain moment, they will stand in front of the ceremonial hall and it is important to look dignified. Look at the proper clothing for a funeral. Print out your funeral speech or write it on a piece of paper. It is not appropriate however to pull the paper crumbled from a pocket. An ideal solution is to put the paper in a black folder, which you then open on the speaker’s stand.
It is important to come to the designated place in the moment you are asked to. In the moment, when you will start to speak, remember that it is important for the people in the back to hear you. Speak loudly enough or directly to a microphone, choose a slower tempo a do proper pauses, so that everyone has time to process the information.
Funeral speech at the funeral feast
As far as public speeches are concerned, it is important to mention one specific speech. It is not the actual funeral speech, but a shorter speech at the funeral feast. It is appropriate that, in certain time, one of the relatives or friends thanks the guests for participation at the feast or at the funeral, and for the condolences, and toasts to honour the deceased. This speech does not have to be delivered by the same speaker as the one at the ceremony.
We will happily provide all the information at our nonstop phoneline of our funeral home +420 725 900 800