A woman interviewing another woman

 

Written by Jenny Goldade

 

When planning a personalized funeral, it’s important to ask families questions to gain inspiration and insight about their loved one.

 

Although “What was their job?” or “What were their hobbies?” are helpful, it takes more to really get a sense of who a person was. Not only is the content of the questions important, but also how you phrase the questions to grieving families.

 

Below, we’ll discuss tips for talking with grieving families and suggest questions you can ask about their loved one for personalizing the funeral.

 

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Communication Tips

Keep It Simple

When asking questions, choose your wording wisely and keep it simple by avoiding phrases with complicated or flowery language. Also, avoid “yes or no” questions and clichés that may have lost their meaning from overuse. Open-ended questions are more helpful for learning details about the deceased, so the family digs deeper to answer the questions.

 

Encourage Families to Share Stories

To learn more about their loved one, encourage them to share stories and memories, but don’t press them for details. Stories are gateways into the deceased’s life and adventures. You learn more about someone through their experiences and how they handled the situation rather than mere facts about them.

 

Listen and Observe

While they’re answering questions, active listening and awareness of their body language are both key to fully understanding their responses. You should be listening and observing more than talking. This way you don’t miss anything important they say and can better gauge their comfort level. While listening, take notes and rephrase what they’re saying in your own words. This helps you later when you’re brainstorming ways to turn these thoughts into personalized funeral elements.

 

Questions to Ask

Feel free to ask families these creative and out-of-the-box questions when planning a personalized funeral for their loved one:

 

  1. If you could describe (insert name here) in only five words, what would they be?
  2. Tell me a funny/happy/inspirational/etc. story about (insert name here).
  3. Describe a favorite memory you have with (insert name here).
  4. What were (insert name here)’s three best qualities?
  5. How would (insert name here) spend their ideal day off?
  6. What were (insert name here)’s famous words of advice to you?
  7. Where did (insert name here) spend most of their time outside of home and work?
  8. What was (insert name here)’s go-to outfit?
  9. What was (insert name here) a firm believer of? (Words of wisdom or a cause they were passionate about.)
  10. Tell me about (insert name’s here)’s personality and quirks.
  11. What made (insert name here) special to you?
  12. Who did (insert name here) look up to the most?
  13. What was (insert name here)’s go-to meal to order at a restaurant or favorite home-cooked meal?
  14. If (insert name here) could be any animal, what would they be and why?
  15. What was (insert name here)’s favorite season and why?
  16. What was (insert name here)’s favorite way to relax after a long day?
  17. Describe (insert name here)’s ideal weekend plans.
  18. What was (insert name here)’s favorite vacation and why? What did they do?
  19. What was (insert name here)’s home design style?
  20. What did people go to (insert name here) for advice about?

Do you have any questions to add to our list? Share your ideas in the comments below!