Two Skills Every Funeral Home Owner Must Master

He walked to the front of the room, I gave him a topic, and he delivered a 5 to 7-minute unrehearsed speech. 

We were at the weekly meeting of our Toastmasters club. I was leading the meeting and had asked for a volunteer. Craig, one of our members, had accepted the challenge.

If you are not familiar with Toastmasters, it’s a worldwide organization of clubs all focused on helping members develop their communication and leadership skills. I’ve been a member of various clubs over the years and have observed some amazing transformations.

When Craig first attended one of our meetings, he sat in the back of the room and didn’t say a word. At the end of the meeting, our club president asked him to stand up and tell us what brought him here today.

Craig stood up and said, “I need to grow up.” 

We all laughed because we thought he was joking. He wasn’t.

Craig’s backstory was that he was recently married, and his wife was working full time while he worked on an MBA. His goal was to finish his master’s and get a good-paying job so that his wife could quit her job and they could start a family.

But Craig had a problem…self-confidence. A family member had suggested that he join a Toastmasters club, which brought him to our meeting.

Craig joined the club, and over the next year, I had the pleasure of watching him “grow up.”

Toastmasters has a very structured program in which you take on increasingly difficult speaking assignments and assume leadership roles in the meetings.

Craig’s first few speeches were a mess, but eventually, things started to click for him. His confidence began to grow, and he could stand in front of our club and deliver a short speech without being paralyzed by stage fright.

As his ability to communicate improved, he started taking on leadership roles and even mentored new members.

On the day that he accepted my challenge, the subject I gave him was to explain how his MBA would help contribute to the success of his future employer.

Craig took a minute to think through his points and then delivered his speech. He nailed it. The membership all applauded, knowing that we had just witnessed his transformation. Craig had grown up.

Do you have a Craig in your funeral home business? Someone who might be comfortable making basic funeral arrangements, but if asked to lead a family through the process of planning a creative life celebration, they wouldn’t be up to the task.

Making basic funeral arrangements requires logistics and scheduling skills. You’ve got to think through the elements of the funeral service and plan everything so that it runs smoothly.

Planning a creative life celebration requires excellent communication and leadership skills. You have to lead a family through a discussion in which you explore the stories of a lifetime and help assemble them into a personalized life celebration event.

In a previous newsletter, I stated that all funeral directors would also need to be funeral celebrants in the future. Organizations like Insight Institute can help with this training.

But as the owner of any business, including a funeral home, the importance of communication and leadership skills cannot be underestimated. I believe that an owner who cannot communicate a vision and lead a team will never be able to grow their business.

One of the interesting tools I picked up as part of becoming a Certified Business Coach with Business Made Simple University is an online assessment called the Business MRI. It’s a survey that asks a business owner questions in 8 different categories; leadership, productivity, messaging, marketing, communication, negotiation, sales, and management & execution.

It’s a diagnostic tool to help identify the weaknesses in a business. It’s not specific to funeral homes; it’s more of a generic tool that can apply to any business.

If you’d like to see what parts of your business need help, feel free to use my copy of the tool. After you complete the survey, the results are delivered to your email. Here’s the link.

Business MRI

Funeral home owners contact me for help with a marketing problem. But, unfortunately, there have been many times in which, after working together, it becomes apparent that their real problem lies elsewhere in the business. The Business MRI can help identify the source of other issues that might be holding you back.

Craig called me shortly after delivering his excellent impromptu speech and said he would have to leave the club. It turns out he had just finished his MBA and had already landed a great job.

During the interviews, the company’s CEO asked Craig to go up to a whiteboard and explain project management, which had been his MBA thesis topic. He delivered a short unrehearsed speech, impressed the CEO, and was offered a job on the spot.

Communication and Leadership – two skills that every business person must possess to get to the next level. Use my Business MRI survey to see how you score.

Business MRI

Until next time,



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