Using Stories to Help Plan Funeral Services

We often discuss how storytelling is an effective way to promote preneed. Stories engage people and can influence their decision-making process. Explaining preneed within the structure of a story can help normalize it to prospective client families. They can insert themselves into a particular situation where planning in advance could have saved their family from additional emotional stress.

Stories can also help us learn more about people. Whether a client family is meeting with you in an at-need or preneed situation, stories are a great way to help them open up and start the planning (and grieving) process. The memorable moments in someone’s life are a perfect way to create a unique funeral experience for loved ones. Take a look at a few topics that might inspire your client families to share important stories.

Significant Others

Whether it’s a story about how they met or where they went on their first date, encouraging couples to talk about their significant others is beneficial. Not only could these memories bring about great personalization ideas, but they can also help families connect during a difficult time.

School Activities

It’s tradition in my family to attend college at a specific university, and it all started with my grandfather back in the 1950s. When he passed away, the university was featured prominently during his funeral service. Asking families for similar stories can uncover their interesting loyalties and passions.

Important Hobbies

People often have important hobbies. Asking questions about what a loved one did in their spare time can bring up unique personalization ideas. Runners or cyclists might want to incorporate something special into their service. Animal lovers could request that an organization bring in service animals to comfort funeral service attendees. The sky is the limit when it comes to incorporating hobbies.

Military Service

It’s common for client families to incorporate references to a Veterans’ military service into his or her funeral. The servicemember’s casket or urn could bear their military branch’s emblem, their uniform could be displayed or pictures from their enlistment could be displayed.


Some of my favorite family stories have come from family vacations. Asking a client family to tell you about their favorite vacation memories could spark several personalization ideas and help you better connect with a new family.


I recently saw a commercial featuring a retirement-aged man discussing his past “careers” with his financial planner. His jobs included being the “head of transport,” also known as a valet, and an “executive beverage distributor,” or coffee guy. Whatever careers your client family’s loved one held, there are more than likely several interesting stories that can be told. For some people, careers are an important part of their life and could easily be incorporated into a service.

Getting the conversation started can be a difficult task with families. Utilizing resources like FAMIC’s Have the Talk of a Lifetime tools could help families engage in meaningful conversations. Do you have any go-to questions when you plan a funeral service for a family? If so, let us know in the comments.

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