How to be Grammarian/Um Ah counter for the evening

At Toast of Broadway, we combine the role of Grammarian and Um/Ah counter. This article has information on both roles.

Before meeting

  1. Prepare a word of the day. Choose a word that may not be used often in regular conversations, but will still be easy enough to slip into prepared speeches and table topics.
  2. Print out or write up your word of the day, and include this somewhere that everyone can see it throughout the meeting. If you wish to print this, you can download a template here. Include a short description of the word.
  3. Prepare your introductory speech to the club, including what you will be doing for your role, and what it is an important role.

During meeting – grammarian

  • When called up by the toastmaster, explain to the audience your role, as well as the word of the day. Be sure to include the word in a sentence. Encourage everyone to use this word.
  • Listen to each speaker’s grammar and language.
  • Note grammatical mistakes, and any good word usage.
  • Note down any filler words used by speakers, such as ‘so’, or ‘like’.
  • At the end of the meeting, make your report to the club. This should include words and phrases you liked, as well as suggestions and improvements for speakers.

During meeting – Um/Uh counter

  • Note words and sounds used as crutch/filler words, such as ‘um’, ‘ah’, ‘so’ etc. Click here to download a tally sheet template to work from.
  • At the end of the meeting, make your report to the club. Generally you do not need to list each individual sound, but you may want to say a total, such as ‘Peter had a total of 20 filler words’.

Other notes

  • It may feel mean or rude to critique how many filler words a member is using in front of the club, but often they do not realise this, so it’s a good way for them to become aware.