Um. Ah. So. Ya know?
Everyone is guilty of using filler words at some time. We use them in an effort to hesitate, think, or to give them the impression that we are pausing, but not finished speaking.
The role of the Toastmasters Ah Counter is to listen for these words as the speaker is talking. In some clubs, the Ah Counter simply writes down a tally mark each time an individual uses a filler word, then gives a report at the end. In other clubs, the person speaking (aside from scheduled speakers) will receive some form of audible notification that they are using a filler word. In my opinion, providing feedback when the filler was used is a superior model.
Are you taking on an Ah Counter role? Follow these tips to get the most out of your role.
Ring it Loud and Proud
I’m going to assume that your club uses a call bell to notify members of their filler words. When you are the Ah Counter, you need to ring the bell and make it heard. It’s easy to become bell shy and lightly ring the bell when an infraction occurs. Don t be shy. This is part of your function.
Listen for Catch Phrases
Aside from the common filler words, many people have certain phrases (or words) that they use. If you are listening closely to the person speaking, you can typically pick up on these phrases. While I don’t suggest ringing the bell for them, write down the word or phrases, and inform the speaker how many times they used it.
Close Your Eyes
Sometimes it’s easier to close your eyes when someone is speaking. Especially when this is your first time running as Ah Counter Shutting your eyes gives you the opportunity to listen without distraction. Keep your eyes shut, and hover your finger over the call bell.
After a few times in this role, you will quickly see that the Ah Counter is a great functionary role to fill.
Want to learn more? Check out these other functionary roles:
How To Be A Toastmasters General Evaluator