Storytelling often plays a big part in how we celebrate the life of our loved ones. Stories are how we help remember people and share our memories of them with others. This is why stories are a central part of our Celebration of Life ceremonies and the stories we choose to tell can make these events so memorable for those attending.
If you are planning a Celebration of Life, or will be speaking at one, here is a guide on how to use storytelling effectively for a meaningful experience.
What Kinds of Stories to Tell During a Celebration of Life?
We can create long lists of adjectives to describe people, but telling a story will be more compelling way to express what someone was like. We can say someone was funny, kind or was good-hearted, but is there a story that illustrates their kindness or humour or empathy much more vividly than the word does?
Stories allow people to come to life for us and create an energy for people to experience together in the same moment.
Approaches to Storytelling
Chose 1-3 stories to tell, no more. If there is a central theme or point you’d like to make to hold these stories together, this is also a great way to frame your speech.
One life is full of stories, so you know you won’t ever be able to tell them all, and to create a powerful moment for people, you don’t want to try to tell all the stories.
Maybe spend some time jotting down some of your favourite moments and then, when you have finished the list, just select a few to tell.
Some Questions to Ask to Generate Good Stories
- What are my favourite memories with this person?
- What was this person known for?
- What words would I use to describe this person? What stories do I have that would show how this person was these things?
- Who am I talking to?
- What is the point of my telling this story? What am I looking to illustrate with this story?
Short Stories for Greater Impact
Unless you are a skilled storyteller who knows the pacing of telling a longer story, naturally or with practice, it is okay to keep things simple.
This will let you tell the story easier on the day of the event, which is great if you aren’t totally comfortable speaking in front of a crowd. It will also let the meaning of that story be felt more strongly by those people listening. If you begin to ramble and go on too long, then people’s minds will begin to wander.
If there are people attending that didn’t know this person when you did and in the context you did, make sure you tell your story with this in mind. Inside jokes or details that are irrelevant to the understanding of the story and the person should be left out.
Remember why of all the stories you could tell you chose that one. Let that reason speak loudest in your telling and don’t worry about too many details. You want people to remember the point of the story, not the other stuff.
Consider Working With a Celebrant
Celebrants are trained storytellers. They understand how to tell the story of someone's life effectively and with the the correct tone for the event. When you choose to to work with a celebrant, you are able to provide them the content and they will craft something compelling for your guests. You can meet our celebrants here.
When you work with us at Red Bird Events, we will walk you through this process so that you are able to tell the stories you want to tell in a powerful way that honour and celebrate the live of your loved one.