As an Ah-Counter, your role is to count and to report the number of unnecessary sound that hamper the effectiveness of a speaker to delivery their speech, such as filler and repetitive words. Here is how you could succeed this role.
Before the Meeting
- Bring Pen and Paper (or use the Official Toastmaters App, Google/Apple): You will need to jot down number of times a speak uttered any unnecessary sound/words during their speech. These notes will be used for your reporting at the end of the meeting.
- Bring Your Competent Leader (CL) Manual (optional): Bring your CL manual, your contribution as an Ah-Counter to the meeting can be recorded as part of your CL award. Ask your Vice-President of Education (VPE) or assigned mentor for details.
During the Meeting
Step 1: Introduce Your Role
Your script could look like this:
Thank you Madam/Mister Toastmasters of the Evening.
Fellow Toastmasters, Friends and Guest. My role as the Ah-Counter is to count the number of unnecessary sound or repetitive words you used when you are speaking on the stage. For example “Er“, “Em“, “Ah“, “You Know“, “I Mean” will be counted. These are fillers that would affect your effectiveness in delivering your speech. At the end of the meeting I will be back on this stage to present my report to you.
Back to you Madam/Mister Toastmasters of the Evening.
Step 2: Count the number of unnecessary sound and words
When a speaker is speaking on the stage, pay attention to the number of unnecessary sound and repetitive words they uttered and jot these down in your report. Optionally, you might want to jot down if the speaker had habits of making a particular unnecessary sound. For example, I say alot of “You Know”. If you could point this out during your report, it would be particularly helpful for the speaker to realise and take avoid that next time.
One more personal sharing: Usually, through performing the role as an Ah-Counter, you would be drawn away from the context of the speech and unable to tell what the speaker was talking about. Don’t worry, because what you would learnt eventually is the surprise that how many unnecessary sound people made in their speeches. You will gain clarity on how you would deal with unnecessary sound when it happen to you without notice – usually unintentionally during mind bottling moments that you need to think what you wanted to say (e.g. Table Topics when you need to think on your feet). I suggest then you aware of that, take a deep breath instead of rushing yourself to speak.
Meanwhile, here is a list of speakers you will need to pay attentions as an Ah-Counter
- Toastmasters of the Evening (TME)
- Timer (Role Introduction + Report)
- Language Evaluator/Grammarian (Role Introduction + Word of the Day + Report)
- Joke Master
- Table Topics Master
- Table Topics Speakers
- Prepared Speech Speakers
- Table Topics Evaluator
- Prepared Speech Evaluators
- General Evaluators
Step 3: Reporting
At the end of the meeting, usually after the evaluations for speeches, you will be introduced back on the stage again by the TME to give your Ah Counter report. You will need to report the total number of unnecessary sound a speaker made. Your script could look like:
Thank you Madam/Mister Toastmasters of the Evening.
Fellow Toastmasters, friends and guest, here is my Ah-Coutner report: David: 5, Betty: 2, Royce: 10... I observed Royce used a lot of “You know”, better be aware of that. Meanwhile Lawrence: 3. Samantha: 0, good job!
That’s all from my report. Back to you Madam/Mister Toastmasters of the Evening.
While the role of Ah-Counter is rather straight forward, there are two variations that clubs used that I find rather neatly integrated into the meeting experience, here is how they do it:
- Small Fees for Ahs: Used by the Vienna Toastmasters Club (Austria), every unnecessary sound will be charged for a fee (e.g. €0.10) up to 10 Ahs for flat rate to the club. This is a good way in putting the number of Ahs into context in reminding the speaker how many unnecessary sound they made. The collected money is used for buying beers for everyone for celebration after the last meeting of the year!
- Charting the Ahs: Used by the MDC Toastmasters Club (Hong Kong), the Ahs of each type (e.g. "Er", "Em", "Ah", "You Know", "I Mean", etc.) a speaker said were charted on the white board. By the time the Ah Counter is on the stage, s/he reads the report and everyone have a good laugh on how one speaker over used a particular unnecessary sound/word from the chart. Say, Royce, why you use “You Know” so often that it is the total number of unnecessary sound from all speaker combined?
Step 4: Competent Leader (optional)
Your contribution as an Ah-Counter is part of the Competent Leadership (CL)award scheme. Remember to bring along your Competent Leadership manual to the meeting. Your Vice-President of Education (VPE) either already assigned a fellow Toastmaster to evaluate your performance or make request for that ahead of the meeting.
The CL manual is included when you first joined a Toastmasters club, it is the first award as part of the leadership track. Taking up the role as a Ah Counter can be counted for one time as part of the progress for the CL award. Please refer to your club VPE or assigned mentor for details.
Here are some examples found in YouTube:
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