How to Write a Memorable Tribute Speech: Step-By-Step
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A tribute takes on so many different meanings, it can be hard to remember what it’s supposed to be. But when you write a tribute speech, you can get to its true purpose, which is to honor a specific person. Usually, you can hear tribute speeches at funerals, memorials, and celebrations — but all tend to follow a similar formula.
Here are some helpful steps for writing a tribute speech:
If you’re speaking at a funeral or at a memorial, you might need to write a tribute speech. Or even if you’re speaking at a celebration and simply focusing this piece on a loved one who has died, this guide is for you.
You want your tribute speech to use the right words and to paint an accurate, admirable picture of the person. A heartfelt speech evokes emotion in the listeners and conveys a clear message.
Tip: While speaking at a virtual event, like a live-streamed memorial organized by a service such as GatheringUs , practice your speech using your video conferencing software ahead of time so you can anticipate and fix any audio issues.
Post-loss tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, the emotional and technical aspects of handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one’s family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
For everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under Heaven.
– Ecclesiastes 3:1
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
~ John 3:16
Choose this day whom ye will serve;
but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
– Psalm 91:1
No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him
– I Corinthians 2:9
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
May the roads rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back, may the sunshine warm your face,
And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.
How to write a tribute
Now, you know the structure, types, and when to write an accolade speech. How do you go about penning it down from the start to the conclusion? Below is a step by step guide on how to write a tribute to a person who is alive or dead:
Assemble all the necessary materials
Decide on the accolade tone
How serious and light-hearted do you want your tribute to be? If you are writing a eulogy, then you have no choice but to make it uniformly and just appropriate. You can also pick a saddening approach or be bold and add some humour. When used cautiously, especially in a tribute to a dead person, wittiness can help convey the real personality of the departed while illustrating some endearing qualities he/she had.
The tone will be entirely determined by the type of accolade you are writing. For instance, if you are giving a wedding tribute, then the speech would be less serious. Also, if you are writing a eulogy of a small child who died untimely, the tone would be saddening compared to that of a grandma who lived happily to see her hundred and five birthdays.
Consider your audience
You should write your speech with its purpose in mind. Be honest and dwell on the positive only. Avoid talking about negativity at all costs. Alternatively, you might elude it gently like, “You two have been through various misunderstandings, to which you solved amicably.” Just make sure you don’t utter anything that will offend, confuse or shock the subject and audience.
Introduce yourself briefly
Even if all the people in the crowd know you, it is vital to introduce yourself. Mention how you are related to the subject who might be alive or dead. If you aren’t close, then say a few words about how and when you came to know the subject.
Give out the necessary information about the subject
Your tribute doesn’t have to be like an obituary or a eulogy if the person is alive. Only touch on very few vital points about the subject’s family life, career, achievements, hobbies, and some interests that matter/mattered to him/her. Find a way of mentioning all this information as you praise the subject.
If you are composing a eulogy, then it is advisable to include some names of the deceased’s family members especially those who were close. Have them in hand as you might forget them on a funeral day as a result of being overwhelmed by sadness.
Use real examples to describe the subject
Don’t recite a long list of qualities that the person in question has. Instead, have an illustration using a story for each of them. To get more memories, impressions and thoughts about the subject, talk to as many people as you can and then write what you obtain as your own.
In a nutshell, pretend that a person who is a stranger to the subject is listening to you. From your speech, would he/she get an excellent sense of the person you have been describing from your words without having to meet him in person?
Be organised and concise
Outline the parts of your speech before you start penning it down. Also, brainstorm all the areas such as interests, biography, personal traits and characters. Write them down in a point form so you can remember each of them quickly as you compose the speech. When writing, cover each area with a systematic order. Give your address a beginning, middle and also end. Avoid conversely or rambling speaking to the audience. You might think of including a sterling vocabulary, but dump it for the masses this once.
An average tribute speech lasts between 3 to 5 minutes. So, make sure you can give an essential oration about the subject in the time bracket. Remember that the longer it is, the more you are testing the patience of the crowd during the event, especially if it’s a funeral.
Once you are through with writing the tribute, get some friends or family members who know the subject to read it through. They will make sure that it is not only appropriate and accurate but also captures the essence of the deceased. They will also be able to tell if you have written something confusing or ambiguous to understand.
Tell them to help you remove repetitive phases and edit minor mistakes. However, your grammar doesn’t have to be on point as it won’t be published anywhere and also no one will read it.
Tribute speech examples
Retirement tribute speech
When Engineer Rantich Kipkoech esquire joined the JMTKD Company, black and white TV sets had just arrived in Kenya. KBC’s Vioja Mahakamani and WWE Wrestling were top of the charts in the country.
When we look at JMTKD’s history, different people featured in various prominent ways. Dr Tesla, the founder, Kepler, the award-winning inventor and Mark Otieno, who saw the potential of upgrading our systems. But the 1970s belonged to Engineer Rantich Kipkoech, and it is my pleasure to pay tribute to his era. Everyone in this room, including new and the longest-serving employee, has contributed significantly to the success of JMTKD. However, our talk is dedicated to Engineer Rantich.
Rantich steered this company through assisting in the plant’s manufacturing processes since his early days. In 1980, he was appointed the chief engineer, and over the 30 years, he would oversee all the control processes in the factory. His reign saw implementations of significant developments that increased the output of our commodities.
Using our talents and leaving an unforgettable legacy is something that we will all desire to do. Rantich has succeeded in doing this right. One thing I have heard some employees say is that he is essentially the same person who joined our company those years.
My final accolade is to say that I believe we can face the future under Kamau (his successor) as Rantich has laid a strong foundation. I call my toast, “The best is yet to come.”
You are retiring from the company, but there is a new world of leisure, business, and many voluntary activities waiting for you. Hundreds of companies will value your control and instrumentation skills.
A funeral tribute
My mother, Margret Kwamboka Mutuku, was born on February 12 1910, in Kileleshwa, Nairobi. She was one of the twelve children, six girls and six boys, born to my grandpa, Mutuku Sammy Mutua and Grandma, Priscah Mwende Mutuku.
So, all of you who knew my mother know that she was very loving, sweet, kind, generous, caring, and humble. Sometimes I wish half of us could be as friendly and selfless as she was.
She was so caring and hardly worried about life. She was very non-judgemental. She just accepted everyone no matter what they did and who they were. She loved everyone from the family, friends to neighbours. She always made some few friends wherever she went.
I remember asking her if she was afraid of dying before she passed away. My mother’s answer was a no without even a skip of her heart. She said that she wasn’t scared of dying because she knew that God was waiting for her.
My mom lit up a room whenever she went, and now she is undoubtedly lighting up heaven with her beautiful smile and laugh. She is busy lighting up our daily paths as we walk. Mom is making us know that she is okay and that she is in heaven. She also wants us to adore each other and treat others with the respect they deserve.
So, before I finish this, I want to thank all of you who showed up for this beautiful yet beautiful occasion for remembering all the good memories you shared with her and how she changed lives with her everlasting love!
The procedure on how to write a tribute to someone alive or deceased is that simple. Remember to relax and use a conversational tone when giving out the speech. Read the piece as if you are talking to your friends. Pause, and go slow as you wish. If you are in grief, have a backup plan for someone to read it in your place just in case you become too emotional to deliver it.