How to write a tribute

Updated April 17, 2017

Tributes are often given at funerals. It is not necessary that the subject of the tribute be deceased; giving a tribute to a living person is perfectly acceptable. A tribute is a speech given about a person the speaker respects. It's given as a thank-you for what the person has done for the speaker.

Describe how you knew the person and how long you have known her. Tell how you met if you are colleagues or friends. Give details if you are related. Explain how you are related to this person and whether you are related through marriage.

Explain the traits of the person that touched you the most. Tell how these traits affected your own life. For instance, someone who was a natural volunteer may have given you the support to go out and become a volunteer yourself. A soothing person may have helped you through tough times. Suggest how knowing this person changed the way you perceive the world.

Give the accomplishments of the person. List the things she has done in her life, such as raising children, starting a business or writing a novel. Give details on how each of these accomplishments affected others. Make sure the accomplishments given are not just tangible and come with a reward. Tell of accomplishments in her marriage or at her church.

Tell a favourite story about the person. This is a good time to use humour. Do not use crude or offensive humour. Give the audience your best memory with this person. Explain the details of the event and tell why this story stands out in your life. This may be a time when the person helped you out of a situation, supported you in a life-changing decision, or just spent an afternoon laughing and playing games with you.

Speak of the ways in which this person touched other people. Perhaps she offered free babysitting to her neighbour or gave up a vacation to pay a semester's college tuition for a child. Discuss the many little things this person gave to the people who know or knew her.

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