Most adults in the USA have a vocabulary of 20,000-35,000 words. The role of the Toastmasters Grammarian is to help members add some pizazz to their vocabulary, and take note of the grammatical structure of members sentences. To be a rock star Grammarian, follow these simple tips.
Selecting a Word of The Day
As the Grammarian, you must select a word of the day. This word should be a little bit outside of the vocabulary of the average speaker. You want them to learn something, but also retain the knowledge. One method to help with retention is by communicating with the Toastmaster and Table Topics Master before the meeting. Select a word of the day that corresponds with the meeting theme, and the setup of table topics.
For instance, imagine that meeting theme is “Life’s a beach”. Because of the theme, the Table Topics Master has decided to create a themed version of Table Topics. The setup is: “Tell me about a time you survived alone, on a beach for six months with only a <insert item>”. The speaker is then provided with an object to speak about.
With that in mind, a good word of the day could be “Torrent”. “Torrent” is a noun that means “a strong and fast-moving stream of water or other liquid.” Or, “a sudden, violent, and copious outpouring of (something, typically words or feelings).” This dual meaning word could easily be used in this scenario.
Keep The Word Secret
Seriously, don’t let anyone know the word before the meeting. It’s more fun and will force the members to learn quickly.
Make A Sign
All you need is a Sharpie and a blank sheet of paper. Write the word of the day on it. When a member takes the stage for Table Topics, hold up the sign until they have correctly used the word. This will help remind members to use the word in a sentence.
Listen for Interesting Phrases
The Ah Counter will listen for filler words, pauses, and other crutches. As the Grammarian, pay attention to the speech patterns. If a member says something scintillating, jot it down and mention it at the end of the meeting.
Listen for Pattern Interrupts
What’s a pattern interrupt? A pattern interrupt is when the speaker makes a sudden transition and either rapidly re-engages the audience, or loses them completely.
For example “So, there I was knee deep in the Jungle. In the distance, I could hear the leaves rustling. The guttural growl filled the air, and I felt fear like I had never felt before. The sound grew closer until I could see the tall grass directly in front of me part. I took a breath of fresh air and then why does that happen. “
A pattern interrupts like this will completely lose track of the audience. There are times when someone is speaking and the order of words becomes discombobulated, and half of a sentence is spoken at the wrong spot. This can be nerves or a dozen of others reasons.
Don’t Be Afraid To Mention It In Your Report
It’s easy to say “Everyone did well, and used the word of the day” when you provide your report. Don’t do that. Provide feedback to your club, it’s not only appreciated, but expected.
Being a Toastmasters Grammarian can be a lot of fun. Not only will you help other members learn new words, and become cognizant of their speaking patterns, it will hone your listening and feedback abilities.