The "Funeral Director Voice"

By: Nathan McKinlay
Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Straight Talk with Nathan McKinlay

“The Funeral Director Voice”

Does everybody know the ‘funeral director’ voice? I am sure you have all watched a movie where at one point the funeral director speaks to the protagonist in a sickly sweet, timid voice about their “most modestly priced receptacle”. If not, “The Big Lebowski” is a good place to start. Stereotypes exist within all professions, and funeral service is certainly no exception. The Funeral Director stereotype equates to that of the awkward wallflower, meekly hiding out in somber parlours for fear of the sun. They can be seen as detached, aloof, and quietly conniving.

This is not exactly a flattering a stereotype, which is why many of us have worked so hard to bring the profession into the times (or “into the light”, you could say). The funeral director of today needs to be transparent and authentic. They do not have to be full blown extroverts, but they need to at least be sociable and be able to take charge of groups, large and small. They need to stand in front of conflict if it arises, stand up for their families if they meet resistance and help the family navigate the more challenging elements of death and dying.  Meek conniving wallflowers need not apply.

I love my job and find great meaning in the work that I do. I am happy to say that there are many funeral directors out there who share this passion. Some of the most sociable, authentic, principled, and fun people that I know are funeral directors, and that is exactly the kind of person one needs to be to work in funeral service today. This is a job about people, not ‘receptacles’.

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