The main duty of the Ah Counter is to note words and sounds used as a ‘crutch’ or pause filler by anyone who speaks during the meeting.
Words may be in appropriate interjections such as “and’, ‘but’, ‘so’, ‘well’, or ‘you know.’ Sounds may be ‘ah’, ‘er’, or ‘um.’ You should also note when a speaker repeats a word or phrase, such as ‘I’, ’I’ or ‘this means’, ‘this means,’ as well as restarts (when someone stops a sentence before completion and then restarts with a new thought).
Before the meeting:
- Prepare a brief explanation of the duties of the Ah Counter for the benefit of guests.
During the meeting:
- When introduced by the Toastmaster, explain the role of the Ah Counter.
- Throughout the meeting, listen to everyone and keep track of all inappropriate filler sounds or words used by anyone who speaks during the meeting, including repeats and restarts. Be sure to write down the name of each person who speaks so you can give an accurate report of non-offenders.
- Tally the counts for each speaker and the group as a whole.
- Give a report when called upon by the Toastmaster, including the total count for the meeting and who did particularly well (you may also wish to mention any fillers that were used particularly heavily).
Here’s a clip on how the role Ah Counter handled in an actual Toastmasters meeting. Notice that there are two variations and as the Ah Counter role is rather straight forward without much comments needed to be made, it’s preferable to keep your reporting short, brief and precise.