Crematoria run to precise schedules, and the time given to each ceremony is strictly limited. Any delays can result with the funeral director being faced with additional charges. Needless to say as the person responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the service, if this happens, you are the person to attract the blame. As the funeral directors are your customers, this can jeopardise your chances of future work from them.
The trouble is that you can't control the unexpected delays that sometimes crop up. Some examples from recent ceremonies include... Very often family members will wish to make a personal tribute at the last minute, read a poem, sing a song or just tell a story. You may well find a barely legible piece of paper thrust in your hand with a request to read the contents.
This example of just such a last minute document, although legible, did contain a few 'surprises'. First of all, being emailed to the wrong address meant that it arrived just minutes before the service, so had to be factored in hurriedly, being read from the screen of a mobile phone. Normally turned off for the duration of services, the technology duly played its part in the proceedings and rang. Happily, it was set to silent, but for a moment, the precious document disappeared from the screen while the caller realised they were not going to get an answer.
All such unexpected changes have a knock on effect on precious time, and while it is always respectful to include all memories of the departed, you must have a 'Plan B' for timing that allows enough elastic to accommodate requests, make all the planned eulogies, and maintain a relaxed, calm and professional atmosphere, while keeping within tight time limits..
The skill of adjusting the pace of your delivery is a very important one to learn, with an 'ideal' that goes perfectly to time if no delays occur, through to a quickened pace that shaves off a little time while still maintaining the respect and gravitas of your eulogy. A delicate balancing act indeed.
Expecting the unexpected is an important part of all the training and CPD programmes at the Celebrant Society. With a lifetime of experience, our coaches have seen it all and have a wealth of handy hints up their sleeves to help keep everyone happy while maintaining a steady ship.
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