members off their crutches
The purpose of the Ah-Counter is to note any word or sound
used as a crutch by anyone who speaks during the meeting.
Words may be inappropriate interjections, such as and,
well, but, so and you know. Sounds may be ah,
um or er. You should also note when a speaker
repeats a word or phrase such as “I, I” or “This means, this
means.” These words and sounds can be annoying to listeners.
The Ah-Counter role is an excellent opportunity to practice
your listening skills.
Several days before the meeting, use the information in A
Toastmaster Wears Many Hats or in the appendix of the
Competent Communication manual to prepare a brief
explanation of the duties of the Ah-Counter for the benefit
When you arrive at the meeting,
bring a pen and blank piece of paper for notes, or locate a
blank copy of the Ah-Counter’s log, if your club has one,
from the sergeant at arms.
The president will call the
meeting to order and introduce the Toastmaster who will, in
turn, introduce you and the other meeting participants. When
you’re introduced, explain the role of the Ah-Counter. Some
clubs levy small fines on members who do or do not do
certain things. (For example, members are fined who use
filler words or are not wearing their Toastmasters pin to
the meeting. A fine is usually about five cents, acting more
as a friendly reminder than a punishment.) If your club
levies fines, explain the fine schedule.
Throughout the meeting, listen
to everyone for sounds and long pauses used as fillers and
not as a necessary part of sentence structure. Write down
how many filler sounds or words each person used during all
portions of the meeting.
When you’re called on by the
general evaluator during the evaluation segment, stand by
your chair and give your report.
After the meeting is adjourned,
give your completed report to the treasurer for collection
of fines if this tradition applies to your club