The Ah-Counter notes unnecessary words and sounds used by members who speak during the meeting. It's a fantastic opportunity to practice your active listening skills and to develop coaching skills in redirecting speakers who struggle in this area (most of us do!)
These crutches and filler words come in a variety of forms:
- Inappropriate interjections: and, well, but, so, y'know, like, right?
- Filler sounds: ah, um, er, uh.
- "Double-clutches": When a speaker repeats what was just said, such as, " This means, this means."
BEFORE THE MEETING
Prepare a brief explanation of the duties of the Ah-Counter for the benefit of guests.
● Arrive by 6:45, and notify the General Evaluator that you have arrived.
● Get copy of the Ah-Counter’s log from the sergeant at arms.
● Throughout the meeting, listen to everyone for sounds and long pauses used as fillers and not as a necessary part of sentence structure.
● Note how many crutches, filler words and sounds used by each person used (up to 5) 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. Provide suggestions on how to limit use of the words and sounds you've highlighted.
Your role as the ah-counter is not to be precise and shame members about the exact number of times they say "um" or restart sentences. That can be demoralizing. The spirit of this role, as with all evaluation roles, is to help members recognize areas for improvement and provide insight on how to improve.