Tips for Ah-Counter
Remember, every role is a public speaking practice! So try to handle the role as if you were giving a public speech – address the whole room with eye contact, speak loudly, clearly, slowly and formally.
1. Before the meeting, write names of all participants (except table topics speakers, who you can only add during the meeting as their names are called) on a sheet of paper, to save you time while counting. Remember, you should do this for EVERY speaker, not just the prepared speeches – include the Toastmaster of the Day – EVERYONE who says ANYthing.
2. When introduced at the start, stand at your desk and explain the role of the Ah-Counter. Say something like (in your own words): “Thank you, Mr./Madam Toastmaster of the Day. We often find ourselves using ‘bridge’ words or fillers like “Ah” or “You know”, or meaningless sounds like “Er” when we are searching for the right words to say. Such ‘bridge’ words detract from our speech and give the impression that we are not well prepared. Instead, try just pausing a moment while you straighten out your thoughts. My role today is to help you become aware of this habit, by counting and reporting on how often you use bridge words. Toastmaster of the Day.”
3. While counting, remember to include not just words as such, but also expressions that the speaker appears to be using too often as a habit. For example, one member starts off every new topic in the speech with
the words “Moving right along …..”
4. Finally, when called upon to make your report, do it from your desk, panning the audience, (not the front of the room), saying something like: “Thank you, General Evaluator (because it is the General Evaluator who has called upon you to make your report). I am happy to say we did very well today with our ’bridge’ words (or something like that). This is my report.” (Then read out your report, going person by person in any order you wish, and stating how many times they used each bridge word. Say WHAT they did wrong, don’t just say “Alice said it 5 times”, but say “Alice had 3 ah’s and 2 um’s, and it distracted us from listening”.
5. End by saying: “And that concludes my report as Ah-Counter, General Evaluator”. Wait until the GE relieves you at the lectern, and don’t thank us.