Quell Your Nerves When Delivering A Eulogy With These Strategies

Delivering a eulogy at the funeral service of a family member or close friend is an honor, but it's also something that can keep you up the night before as you fret about speaking in public. If you've decided to accept the honor of speaking at the service but want to be as calm and confident as possible, there are a variety of techniques you can use. Most people know about the importance of being prepared and taking deep breaths, but there are other ways that you can feel less nervous, despite the importance of the moment. Here are some strategies to try.

Get Beta Blockers From Your Doctor

A trip to your family doctor in advance of the funeral service can be beneficial as a way to reduce your anxiety when delivering the eulogy. Ask your doctor for a prescription for beta blockers. These pills are designed to essentially prevent your body from reacting physically to the anxiety you're experiencing, which can be hugely helpful. For example, when you're already nervous, you'll only get yourself more worked up when you feel your knees shaking and notice sweat on your palms. The beta blockers temporarily shut off these symptoms, which means that your body won't be worsening any anxiety you're feeling.

Admit That You're Nervous

Even though the eulogy is about remembering the person who has passed away, it's acceptable to interject a little bit about yourself into your remarks — after all, you'll likely be talking about your relationship with the person. There's no harm in admitting that you're nervous. Early on, say something such as, "I'm extremely nervous about any type of public speaking, but I couldn't think of turning down the honor of eulogizing Dave. Let's get through this together," for example. Sharing your feelings can take some pressure off; the group already knows that you're nervous, so you'll feel less worked up if you slip up over your words.

Avoid Focusing On The Crowd

Some people advocate finding a friendly face in the funeral home and making eye contact, but this process can be risky. As you scan the crowd while giving a eulogy, you're likely to find faces that are emotional, frowning or looking down — not exactly what you want to feel supported. Instead, avoid looking at faces in the crowd. Pick a spot at the rear of the room, such as the clock hanging above the door, and deliver your speech to this area. This way, you won't risk getting flustered by the less-than-ideal facial expression of someone in the crowd.

For more information about giving a eulogy, see Shepherd Funeral Home or another funeral home near you.