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What skills do you need to be a funeral director?

You do not need any particular skills, but these all help, good communication and interpersonal skills, as we are dealing with people on a daily basis.

We need to have a good attention to detail, we have to get it right every time, there are no second chances…

You do have to have certain qualities to be a good funeral director.

Respect, empathy, diplomacy, diversity and discretion are other key attributes which all funeral directors must possess.

Respect includes how we address people, the language we use, what support and guidance we can give to them, and we must have listening skills. Listening and hearing are two very different things.

Empathy isn’t talking about our personal thoughts or past experiences. Stating we do not know what they are feeling, but we can empathise with them is acknowledgement to their situation.

Diplomacy may be required as requests for certain inclusions can be denied. A family you are working with may state they promised their member who has just died they can be cremated with their mobile phone which isn’t allowed as it contains a battery which can cause an explosion if cremated. The role of the funeral celebrant requires us to find an alternative that is allowed and acceptable to all, not to just say no because the crematorium won’t allow it. Funeral celebrants need at times to negotiate requests and situations.

Diversity is required when working alongside people from varying cultures or belief systems, we are here to treat everybody with the same respect they deserve and to listen to them and accommodate their wishes.

Discretion is essential to prevent causing hurt or upset to others. Feuding families, ex partners and estranged siblings are just three states of affairs that we come across on a regular basis. Funeral directors hear many things which aren’t to be discussed in groups or pages on social media.

In addition to this we need to be thorough and pay attention to detail, often working in highly emotive situations we need to be able to be patient with clients and remain calm and professional at all times.

Teamwork is essential, we must be able to work well with others, and be able to work within sometimes tight timeframes.

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