Jerry Seinfeld once pointed out that public speaking is most people's number one fear, so at a funeral it's less scary to be the person in the casket than the person giving the eulogy. While this is a case of exaggeration for the sake of comedy, it's not as though most people relish the thought of having to speak in public, even when the audience is composed of friends and family. When you're saying farwell to a family member or dear friend and have been asked to speak at the funeral, it can be a case of having to feel the fear but still getting it done. There's significance to speaking at a funeral, and it can even form an important part of the grieving process. How can you prepare a few poignant remarks for your funeral speech when you don't have the foggiest idea where to start?
A Cherished Memory
Start with a cherished memory of your loved one. Something from your childhood can be beautiful to share, and the specifics of what you're talking about are almost inconsequential. You're sharing a special memory to demonstrate your relationship with the person in question, and this ensures that you're speaking from the heart, which is helpful in this context.
To Quote or Not to Quote
Unless your loved one was notably religious, it's not necessary to include a biblical quote in your remarks. In fact, if your loved one was an atheist or agnostic, religious connotations can even be a little inappropriate, but by all means, add one if you know that your loved one would have appreciated it. You could opt to include a quote from one of their favourite books, which doesn't have to be spiritual. You could quote from something like Bridget Jones's Diary even, if it was something that was meaningful to your loved one. This connection is what will give the quote poignancy, but it's totally optional.
You're giving a speech in front of an audience, but this is not the same as giving a performance. You don't need to project your voice so that everyone in the back row hears you. Funeral directors can prepare the necessary set-up in their venue, and as such, the podium should have a microphone. This allows you to speak naturally while still allowing everyone to hear you.
Remember that your goal is to share memories of your loved one that will illustrate just how special they were to you. Your sentiment will be shared by each and every person in the room.