Using Humor in Your Presentation? Here’s a Checklist for Success


For the last six months I’ve been working with an accountant in our Executive Immersion program. As his coach, I’ve helped him polish his presentation skills, strengthen his image, project personal presence and build self-confidence. Most recently I helped him prepare for an internal presentation he was giving to five hundred division managers. Today I received his email report card. “My presentation was a success,” he wrote. “I received countless compliments. I think the company still can’t believe that an accountant can deliver a good presentation.”

I love working with this man. He is earnest, disciplined and, like most accountants, extremely detail oriented so he shows up to our coaching sessions prepared and ready to work. He’s one of those people who truly love numbers. But in spite of his admirable work ethic and commitment to his subject, he has a difficult time sharing his passion and enthusiasm. He has “mono-face” and a stiff posture, and he uses limited vocal accents in his delivery so he can come across bland and uninteresting.

But he has one thing going for him, whom you can probably guess from his report card comment: Humor. And that has made all the difference. His humor has become somewhat of a trademark for him and he’s proud of this new development. He sprinkles enough humor in his presentations now that people enjoy listening to him, and they tell him so.

So I encourage you, as I encouraged him, to use humor in your presentations.

But beware! Whether you’re telling a story, anecdote, joke or one-liner, there are important steps you must take to ensure that your humor is effective. Here is a short checklist to test your humor in both content and delivery before you give your presentation:

Humor Content:

  • Is it in good taste? Will it offend anyone in your audience? Will it damage your credibility or reputation?
  • Is it cliché? Has it been overused?
  • Are you using humor just to include something funny in your presentation or is it relevant to the message?
  • Is the humor brief enough to be told in a short time? Or will it pull you off track and down a rabbit hole.

Humor Delivery:

  • Does using humor make you self-conscious and/or uncomfortable?
  • Can you communicate the humor well? Or do you need practice?
  • Is the punch line clear and easy to understand?
  • Have you rehearsed the humor for this particular audience?
  • Have you tested your humor on others?
  • What if your humor flops? How will you recover?

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a comedian to use humor effectively. Simply use this short checklist for each presentation and every message you deliver will be memorable…and for the right reasons.

Source: How to Be a Panelist

Website:  DeFinis Communications Inc.

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Using Humor in Your Presentation? Here’s a Checklist for Success


For the last six months I’ve been working with an accountant in our Executive Immersion program. As his coach, I’ve helped him polish his presentation skills, strengthen his image, project personal presence and build self-confidence. Most recently I helped him prepare for an internal presentation he was giving to five hundred division managers. Today I received his email report card. “My presentation was a success,” he wrote. “I received countless compliments. I think the company still can’t believe that an accountant can deliver a good presentation.”

I love working with this man. He is earnest, disciplined and, like most accountants, extremely detail oriented so he shows up to our coaching sessions prepared and ready to work. He’s one of those people who truly love numbers. But in spite of his admirable work ethic and commitment to his subject, he has a difficult time sharing his passion and enthusiasm. He has “mono-face” and a stiff posture, and he uses limited vocal accents in his delivery so he can come across bland and uninteresting.

But he has one thing going for him, whom you can probably guess from his report card comment: Humor. And that has made all the difference. His humor has become somewhat of a trademark for him and he’s proud of this new development. He sprinkles enough humor in his presentations now that people enjoy listening to him, and they tell him so.

So I encourage you, as I encouraged him, to use humor in your presentations.

But beware! Whether you’re telling a story, anecdote, joke or one-liner, there are important steps you must take to ensure that your humor is effective. Here is a short checklist to test your humor in both content and delivery before you give your presentation:

Humor Content:

  • Is it in good taste? Will it offend anyone in your audience? Will it damage your credibility or reputation?
  • Is it cliché? Has it been overused?
  • Are you using humor just to include something funny in your presentation or is it relevant to the message?
  • Is the humor brief enough to be told in a short time? Or will it pull you off track and down a rabbit hole.

Humor Delivery:

  • Does using humor make you self-conscious and/or uncomfortable?
  • Can you communicate the humor well? Or do you need practice?
  • Is the punch line clear and easy to understand?
  • Have you rehearsed the humor for this particular audience?
  • Have you tested your humor on others?
  • What if your humor flops? How will you recover?

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a comedian to use humor effectively. Simply use this short checklist for each presentation and every message you deliver will be memorable…and for the right reasons.

Source: How to Use Humor in Your Presentation,

Website:  DeFinis Communications Inc.

How to Be the Highlight of Any Meal: Tips for Making the After Dinner Speech


Most presenters shy away from being the one to give an after dinner speech. If you’re not careful, talking when people are full and tired can be a recipe for disaster. Perhaps that’s why Winston Churchill said, “There are two things that are more difficult than making an after-dinner speech: climbing a wall which is leaning toward you and kissing a girl who is leaning away from you.”

But despite any hesitations of modern day speakers, the custom of saying a few words at the end of a meal is probably as old as civilization itself. The after dinner speech gained prominence in England during the early nineteenth century, and according to Barnet Baskerville in his book The People’s Voice: The Orator in American Society, these speeches became so popular that they were called “the style of oratory most cultivated” in the U.S.

What makes these speeches unique (and sometimes feared by presenters) is that audiences generally expect to be not only informed about a particular issue, but also entertained. This duel focus can make the after dinner speech a challenge. But with skill and practice, anyone can deliver one with ease. Here are a few points to remember:

  1. Ditch the formality. After dinner speeches have a light touch—they are less formal that most other speeches since the intent is not just to persuade, inform, or motivate. The intent is also to entertain and to make people feel relaxed and welcome. They are community builders at their best.
  2. Choose an appropriate topic. Fortunately, just about any topic is good for an after dinner speech. Even serious, weighty topics work if they are handled with a light touch. The most important thing to keep in mind is that they must be relevant to the occasion.
  3. Be funny…but not too funny. While the tone and topic and can be lighter, that doesn’t mean you should attempt to be a standup comic when delivering an after dinner speech. Avoid stringing jokes together or using inappropriate humor. For more tips on using humor effectively in your after dinner speech, see my past blog post.
  4. Watch the time. One nice thing about doing an after dinner speech is that most people won’t have to rush out at the end to make another appointment. However, that doesn’t mean you can talk all night. Most people don’t want to stay up to the wee hours of the night listening to a speaker—even if that speaker is entertaining. Be mindful of the time so you can keep people’s attention.
  5. While after dinner speeches were originally always delivered “after dinner,” today such speeches are delivered after cocktails, after lunch, after breakfast—or just about any time people gather for meals. So whether it’s morning or night, use these tips when you have to speak after a meal and you’re sure to have your audience eating out of your hands : Source: How to Give an After Dinner Speech

    Website:  DeFinis Communications Inc.

Be an Influential Panelist: 10 Steps for Sharing the Stage and Winning Your Audience


Most panelists are used to speaking about their area of expertise and are fairly comfortable being on stage. But speaking on a panel and sharing the spotlight with other equally experienced experts is different than commanding the room yourself. What makes for success in an individual presentation (namely, having the focus entirely on you, having full control of the content and audience involvement, and having full responsibility for the outcome) will be the demise of any panel. Imagine if everyone on the panel acted like they this was their show?

When it comes to being an effective panel member, sharing the stage with tack and courtesy is critical to the group’s success. You must know when to let the spotlight shine brightly on you and when to let it shine on others. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead. Following are some suggestions that will make your panel experience a successful one for you, your fellow panelists and most important, your audience.

Before the Panel Presentation

1. Know your audience, moderator and other panelists. Preparation is always essential. Therefore, begin by analyzing the audience—who this group is and what they want from the panel. In the short time you will have to speak, what is the most important thing you can tell them that will help them succeed? Also, get to know the moderator, as well as the other panel members. If you don’t know them already, look them up online and insist on a pre-briefing meeting via phone. Find out their area of expertise, how their knowledge is complimentary to yours, and what you can do to help each other succeed.  

2. Prepare your content. Once you know how your particular expertise fits into the overall panel, prepare an outline of your notes, taking the time for special preparation of your “Touch Points.” These are those juicy rhetorical devices that build your case and engage and excite your audience. Come up with a quote or two, an analogy, a story or example, facts and statistics, and even a joke. You may never have the time or opportunity to use everything, but you want to be ready to recall and deliver that eloquent rhetorical jewel at just the right time. Your audience will love you for this. (Note: Never use PowerPoint or other visual aids when on a panel. The beauty of a panel discussion is the lively, spontaneous nature of a conversation by a group of experts. So while taking the time to prepare and fill your tool box is essential, don’t over prepare.)

3. Brush up on your delivery skills. A panel is a mini presentation, and the same public speaking skills that make you successful in other presentation venues apply here as well. But keep in mind you will need to adapt your skills to this less formal, shared communication environment, so you may use your skills differently. Pay careful attention to the following clusters of delivery skills: Physical Presence (eye contact, facial expression, posture, gesture and movement), Vocal Resonance (pronunciation, enunciation, volume, rate of speech, pitch, inflection, strategic pauses), and Distinctive Language (concise sentences, powerful and emotional words, avoidance of non-words like “um” and “ah,” and avoidance of jargon and slang). Search any of these terms on my blog and you’ll get a wealth of information to help you.

During the Panel Presentation                     

4. Choose to be congenial and controversial. The goal of most panels is to educate, enlighten, inspire and explore many sides of an issue to set the stage for action. To achieve this, panel members often play two important roles: advocate and devil’s advocate. While it’s critical to be diplomatic and respectful, don’t be afraid to bring up something controversial or respond with a strong point of view. The audience loves it when experts are in agreement on certain issues yet able to respectfully butt heads on other issues.

5. Stay attentive and involved. When you are speaking, make sure you address the audience directly, rather than speak to the moderator or other panelists. And since you are always on stage, remember that the audience is watching you even when you are not speaking. Therefore, pay special attention to your body, mind, and spirit during these times. Stay attentive, sit up straight, make eye contact with the audience, and look interested in what others are saying. Smile and nod often. The moments when you’re not speaking count as much as when you are.

6. Take control when needed. Being a panel member is a lot like playing jazz. You are an expert in your area and know your instrument, but you also know exactly how to improvise with the other musicians and panelists. One good tool to use is “bridging language,” as in, “To build on what you are saying Mark…,” or “If I can add to that Jan…,” or “What you’re saying, Lucy, makes me think of…” Always be a good role model for the other panelists by using presentation tools like this that set the bar high.

7. End on a high note. If the moderator asks you to give a last comment, use one of the great touch points you’ve prepared. Use a quote, metaphor, or shocking statistic, or bring it back to where the conversation began and refer to the opening. Make an effort to make your final words memorable and you will stand out.

After the Panel Presentation

8. Be available. The moderator will wrap up the presentation and tell the audience where they can find you online to continue the conversation. If time permits stay around and meet members of the audience and answer questions personally.

9. Show your gratitude. Send a thank you to the moderator and the other panelists. Let them know you enjoyed sharing the stage from them and learning their points of view. Offer to be of service to them in the future. You never know where your next lead will come from.

10. Make notes on this panel experience. What went well? What did you enjoy? What would you like to improve? How were you received? What is one thing you would do differently next time? Keep a feedback log of your panel experience so your skills continue to broaden and grow.

Experienced panel members know how to not only make themselves look good, but also make everyone else on the panel look good too. Therefore, organize your content and polish your delivery skills, and remember to elevate each panel member by showing respect, highlighting their achievements when you can, and reinforcing to the audience that you feel privileged to be on this panel with such an esteemed group. A little preparation and humility go a long way when it comes to successfully sharing the stage.

Source: How to Be a Panelist

Be an Influential Panelist: 10 Steps for Sharing the Stage and Winning Your Audience


Most panelists are used to speaking about their area of expertise and are fairly comfortable being on stage. But speaking on a panel and sharing the spotlight with other equally experienced experts is different than commanding the room yourself. What makes for success in an individual presentation (namely, having the focus entirely on you, having full control of the content and audience involvement, and having full responsibility for the outcome) will be the demise of any panel. Imagine if everyone on the panel acted like they this was their show?

When it comes to being an effective panel member, sharing the stage with tack and courtesy is critical to the group’s success. You must know when to let the spotlight shine brightly on you and when to let it shine on others. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead. Following are some suggestions that will make your panel experience a successful one for you, your fellow panelists and most important, your audience.

Before the Panel Presentation

1. Know your audience, moderator and other panelists. Preparation is always essential. Therefore, begin by analyzing the audience—who this group is and what they want from the panel. In the short time you will have to speak, what is the most important thing you can tell them that will help them succeed? Also, get to know the moderator, as well as the other panel members. If you don’t know them already, look them up online and insist on a pre-briefing meeting via phone. Find out their area of expertise, how their knowledge is complimentary to yours, and what you can do to help each other succeed.  

2. Prepare your content. Once you know how your particular expertise fits into the overall panel, prepare an outline of your notes, taking the time for special preparation of your “Touch Points.” These are those juicy rhetorical devices that build your case and engage and excite your audience. Come up with a quote or two, an analogy, a story or example, facts and statistics, and even a joke. You may never have the time or opportunity to use everything, but you want to be ready to recall and deliver that eloquent rhetorical jewel at just the right time. Your audience will love you for this. (Note: Never use PowerPoint or other visual aids when on a panel. The beauty of a panel discussion is the lively, spontaneous nature of a conversation by a group of experts. So while taking the time to prepare and fill your tool box is essential, don’t over prepare.)

3. Brush up on your delivery skills. A panel is a mini presentation, and the same public speaking skills that make you successful in other presentation venues apply here as well. But keep in mind you will need to adapt your skills to this less formal, shared communication environment, so you may use your skills differently. Pay careful attention to the following clusters of delivery skills: Physical Presence (eye contact, facial expression, posture, gesture and movement), Vocal Resonance (pronunciation, enunciation, volume, rate of speech, pitch, inflection, strategic pauses), and Distinctive Language (concise sentences, powerful and emotional words, avoidance of non-words like “um” and “ah,” and avoidance of jargon and slang). Search any of these terms on my blog and you’ll get a wealth of information to help you.

During the Panel Presentation                     

4. Choose to be congenial and controversial. The goal of most panels is to educate, enlighten, inspire and explore many sides of an issue to set the stage for action. To achieve this, panel members often play two important roles: advocate and devil’s advocate. While it’s critical to be diplomatic and respectful, don’t be afraid to bring up something controversial or respond with a strong point of view. The audience loves it when experts are in agreement on certain issues yet able to respectfully butt heads on other issues.

5. Stay attentive and involved. When you are speaking, make sure you address the audience directly, rather than speak to the moderator or other panelists. And since you are always on stage, remember that the audience is watching you even when you are not speaking. Therefore, pay special attention to your body, mind, and spirit during these times. Stay attentive, sit up straight, make eye contact with the audience, and look interested in what others are saying. Smile and nod often. The moments when you’re not speaking count as much as when you are.

6. Take control when needed. Being a panel member is a lot like playing jazz. You are an expert in your area and know your instrument, but you also know exactly how to improvise with the other musicians and panelists. One good tool to use is “bridging language,” as in, “To build on what you are saying Mark…,” or “If I can add to that Jan…,” or “What you’re saying, Lucy, makes me think of…” Always be a good role model for the other panelists by using presentation tools like this that set the bar high.

7. End on a high note. If the moderator asks you to give a last comment, use one of the great touch points you’ve prepared. Use a quote, metaphor, or shocking statistic, or bring it back to where the conversation began and refer to the opening. Make an effort to make your final words memorable and you will stand out.

After the Panel Presentation

8. Be available. The moderator will wrap up the presentation and tell the audience where they can find you online to continue the conversation. If time permits stay around and meet members of the audience and answer questions personally.

9. Show your gratitude. Send a thank you to the moderator and the other panelists. Let them know you enjoyed sharing the stage from them and learning their points of view. Offer to be of service to them in the future. You never know where your next lead will come from.

10. Make notes on this panel experience. What went well? What did you enjoy? What would you like to improve? How were you received? What is one thing you would do differently next time? Keep a feedback log of your panel experience so your skills continue to broaden and grow.

Experienced panel members know how to not only make themselves look good, but also make everyone else on the panel look good too. Therefore, organize your content and polish your delivery skills, and remember to elevate each panel member by showing respect, highlighting their achievements when you can, and reinforcing to the audience that you feel privileged to be on this panel with such an esteemed group. A little preparation and humility go a long way when it comes to successfully sharing the stage.

Source: How to Be a Panelist

Moderate with Moderation: 10 Steps to Running a Successful Panel Discussion


If you’ve ever moderated a panel discussion or have seen a poorly-run panel, you know how difficult the task can be: One panel member rambles on, another tries to dominate the discussion, and someone else disturbs the group by continually shuffling papers. It’s enough to make you shirk at the idea of ever moderating a panel.

But don’t despair…moderating a panel discussion can be a rewarding experience—one that enables you to guide both the panel and audience while providing structure and support so the panel’s talent and expertise shine through. When you moderate effectively, you manage the audience and your panel members so everyone benefits.

The purpose of a panel discussion is to bring together top talent in one area so that a group of experts can share and build upon each other’s experience. Panel discussions are useful if an issue is too complex for one person to handle, or if the audience needs to be exposed to various people or viewpoints at the same session. Typically, panel discussions have a goal in mind, whether to introduce a new concept, disseminate facts, show different points of view, get people thinking in a new direction, or any one of a hundred other possibilities.

Unfortunately, many panel discussions fall short of their objective and deteriorate into long-winded, disjointed, and boring mini-presentations from the various panel members. This is why having an effective panel moderator is so important. Even the most brilliant panelists need someone to guide the discussion, keep everyone on task, and ensure that the audience is engaged in a meaningful and lively discussion that ultimately benefits them.

To succeed as a panel moderator, use the following ten tips.

1. Keep the Panel Small and Focused

Just because you’re having multiple perspectives on a topic doesn’t mean you need an army of panelists. Panels that are too large are unwieldy and difficult to manage, while panels that are too small make it difficult to flesh out all the points of view. The ideal panel number is the “fabulous four”—four experts in the chosen topic who have different experiences and who don’t always agree with each other.

2. Get to Know Your Panel Members

Gather the panelists ahead of time on a conference call to discuss the content and the format of the session. Plan out whether each speaker will be given a set amount of time, or if the session will be wholly interactive, meaning a moderator firing questions at the panel. If each speaker has a set amount of time, determine which panelist will focus on which part of the topic to keep from duplicating presentation points. Finally, collect biographies of the speakers for introduction purposes. Make sure you have the pronunciation of each speaker’s name correct.

3. Plan the Questions Ahead of Time

No one likes to be surprised by curveball questions. And while a little controversy and “throwing people off guard” can keep things interesting, you want your panel members to feel comfortable and confident in the topic at hand. Therefore, plan two or three questions per panel member, and send them your questions ahead of time. Ask that they don’t create “scripted” answers to your questions, but that they merely review the questions and come up with some bullet points to discuss during the panel presentation.

4. Meet and Greet the Day or Night of the Event.

Arrange for you and your panel members to meet in the Speakers’ Lounge or the actual session room to introduce them and check in. Plan to arrive at either location at least 30-45 minutes before the session is due to start. Hold a brief rehearsal, reviewing the format of the session and either the questions you’ll start with or who will present first. Also use this time to hook up and test any equipment, check microphones, set up notes, and get settled before the audience arrives.

5. Open with a Brief Reference to the Topic Being Discussed

The moderator sets and maintains the tone for the panel discussion, so it’s important to welcome the audience and lead into the topic with a short hook. A lengthy story is not appropriate, but a short quote, analogy, or anecdote will kick off the discussion, warm up the audience, and highlight the importance of the event.

6. Introduce the Panel Members

When it comes to introducing the panel members, you have two options. 1) You can have each panel member introduce him or herself with a short two-minute introduction, or 2) You can introduce the panelists. With the first option, you give the audience a chance to settle in and have a more personal connection to the panel members. With the second option, you set a more formal tone. With either option, make sure you or the panel member adds a human element to the introduction. Simply listing job titles and credentials gets boring; therefore, try to mention some interesting tidbits, such as, “Jack is the father of quadruplets,” or “Shirley is also a backyard gardener who specializes in award-winning tomatoes.”

7. Keep the Focus on the Panel, Not on You.

Even though you may be a well known expert in the topic or have some celebrity status in your industry, don’t make the panel discussion about yourself. Your role is to guide the conversation, maintain an appropriate tone, keep people on task, and ensure everyone gets ample time to present his or her point of view. You are not there to give a formal presentation or state your opinions, so for now, keep them to yourself.

8. Prepare Your “Cutoff Phrases” Ahead of Time

Be prepared to cut off long-winded panel members or those who ramble off topic. Having some pre-planned cutoff phrases helps. For example, if someone goes off on a tangent that is not useful to the overall topic, you could interrupt and say, “You have an interesting point there, but we want to know more about ________.” Likewise, if someone is dominating the discussion, watch the person’s natural breathing rhythm and then interject between breaths, “Thank you, Julie. Now let’s hear Bob’s perspective on this topic.” It’s always best to ask the panel members what “cutoff phrases” they respond to. Tell them you will use this tactic for keeping the discussion focused and on time.

9. Have Microphones in the Audience for the Question and Answer Session

Before opening the floor for questions, tell the audience any ground rules for asking questions that you want them to follow. Then, encourage the audience to ask questions, but never turn the microphone over to an audience member. If an audience member starts to drone on, politely interrupt and ask him or her to state a question. If an audience member asks a question that’s overly specific to a single panelist or otherwise not particularly relevant to the concerns of the wider audience, don’t be afraid to say, “That’s an interesting question and perhaps better addressed in depth by Panelist A after the wider Q&A we’re doing now.” Finally, if you’re in a big room, not everyone will hear the questions when they’re asked, so always repeat the question. Add one quick summary comment after each question to transition to the next question.

10. Give a Gracious “Thank You” to Each Panel Member

You certainly can’t thank your panelists enough for sharing their expertise. In addition to a verbal “thank you” after the panel discussion, some people give their panelists a small gift at the event or send a handwritten note afterwards, or both. If you received positive feedback from your audience about the panel—either on feedback forms or just informally after the session—you should convey that information to your panelists.

Moderate for Success

When you do a great job as moderator by bringing out the best in the panelists, the audience will appreciate you. They’ll remember your name and seek out your expertise in the future. So in a sense, being a moderator is a great opportunity for you to enhance your credibility and your reputation, but only if you do it right. Use these ten tips to ensure your moderate with ease—and with power—so you can showcase your panelists and ultimately yourself.

Source:  How to be a great panelist

7 Tips for Giving the Perfect Eulogy


Recently I attended a memorial celebration of the all-too-short life of one of my husband’s colleagues. Several family members and friends made touching tributes to the deceased, and as I sat in the crowded room I listened to these presentations not as Angela the speech coach, but as a mourner in a community of mourners.

Still, the speakers who know my profession came up afterwards and asked, “How did I do?” I’m by no means an expert on giving a eulogy (even though I have given a few in my life), but I will share what I learned that day that touched me as both a mourner and a speech coach. Here are my seven elements of a moving eulogy.

1. Use “good words”: The word “eulogy” comes from the classical Greek for “good words,” and that’s a great place to start. Choose uplifting, evocative, descriptive words, even if they are not in your everyday vocabulary. Now is the moment to employ words that bring solace, comfort, and hope to those listening, so let your imagination and your inner preacher flow. Think about the words that give you hope—they are the words to use.

2. Be grateful: You have been asked to speak because you had a special relationship with the person being honored, so consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Not only will you be honoring a person you loved, but you also have a unique opportunity to help everyone in the room feel more connected and at peace. This powerful moment will stay with you for the rest of your life.

3. Prepare well: The hardest part of giving a eulogy is that there is little time to prepare. Even if you only have a day or two to prepare, do more than “think about” what you’re going to say. The most memorable eulogies are well prepared with interesting facts, stories, and recurring themes and patterns. I’ve often heard people say they learned so much about the person from the speeches given at the memorial service. Type your notes double spaced and wide margins or write them o n 5 x 8 cards. You may not need to refer to these aids but they will be there if you do.

4. Find the unique signature: Each of us has a personal signature, and like our fingerprint, it is unique to us. I don’t mean how you sign your name but rather the themes, behavior patterns, and activities that we love most in life. If you’re unsure of the person’s signature, talk to family members and friends to learn what gave the person’s life color and meaning. What was this person devoted to—tropical sunsets, their family, a particular sport, a special non-profit organization?

5. Practice your delivery: Practice at least three times before you deliver the eulogy, preferably in front of one or two people. Practice speaking to the closest family members. They will be sitting in the front row and deserve your focus and attention. Of course, include the bigger group, but always come back to those in the front. Stand up tall, stay still, speak slowly, enunciate clearly, and allow time for the audience to respond to your stories and jokes.

 

6. Manage your emotions: This may be the hardest part for many people, especially if this is your first eulogy. That’s why it’s so important to prepare and practice ahead of time. Yet, even if you do practice, your emotions may rise up unexpectedly. Don’t worry if they do. Your audience is forgiving if you tear up—they will be tearing up with you—but it will be very hard on everyone, particularly the family members, if you break down in sobs. So if you feel yourself becoming overly emotional, pause, take a deep breath, smile at the audience, look at your notes, gather your composure, and move on.

 

7. Use humor: The most touching and gratifying moments of any eulogy are embedded in humorous stories about the person being celebrated. That’s where “kernels of truth” reside. People relate best to stories, and humor helps lift our spirits in a way nothing else can. Your audience needs you to make them laugh. So even if you’re not a natural at telling a humorous story or funny joke, give it a try. Just remember to keep the story highly relevant to the occasion and to practice your punch line.

 

For some inspiration, I’d recommend you read a wonderful book, Farewell, Godspeed: The Greatest Eulogies of Our Time, edited by Cyrus M. Copeland. This remarkable collection includes eulogies given for some of the most notable people of our time, from George Harrison to Henry Ford to Lucille Ball. Here you will read many “good words.”

I’d love to hear your experience giving eulogies. Please comment on this blog or email me your thoughts with “eulogies” in the subject line.

Source: http://www.definiscommunications.com/blog/7-tips-for-giving-the-perfect-eulogy/