speaking

The Ah Counter Debate Part 2: More About Ums and Ahs

My recent post on whether Toastmasters should dump the Ah counter role has sparked an interesting discussion. A few folks have posted comments to this site, sent me email and messaged me on some of the online social networking services both for and against the counting of (and caring about) filler words.

Where I stand on the issue is that unless the speaker repeatedly uses filler words over and over again, I don’t find them to be a big deal. So if someone says “ah” or “um” three times throughout a fifteen minute talk, I wouldn’t hold it against them. Now, if they started every sentence off with “ummmmmmmm…” then it would drive me crazy.

Does Toastmasters Really Need the Ah Counter Role?

I’ll never forget my first Toastmasters meeting back in 2002. There were three fantastic speeches followed by my favorite part of the meeting – Table Topics. If you’re not familiar with Table Topics, it’s the part of the meeting where folks are welcomed to come up and speak “off the cuff” about the topic of the day. I participated and lasted 47 seconds. And, thanks to the person in the “Ah Counter” role, I found out that I had some filler words. At first, I found that role to be very cool and useful, but there’s two reasons why I question whether or not it’s needed – or even helpful.

How to be a Good Audience Member

As speakers we work hard researching how to better communicate and connect with our audiences. We spend hours tweaking a twenty minute talk, figuring out who might be in attendance and practicing our speeches so that we give the audience the best experience possible. Wouldn’t it be nice if our audiences took the time to make sure they get the most out of our talk?

Toastmasters Success – Taking Your Speaking to the Next Level

Toastmasters is a great way to become a better speaker (provided you choose the right club). But the vast majority of the people who join Toastmasters only speak at their own club. Yes, you can become a better speaker just by giving talks to your club – but you’re also missing out on some great opportunities.

Correcting Others Makes YOU Look Bad

Have you ever misspoken, only to have someone correct you right away? Are you thankful that the person cared enough to point out your error to everyone within earshot? Some people just can’t resist pointing out other people’s errors, regardless of who’s present and how minuscule the error is.

I once knew someone that would jump at the chance to correct everyone at every chance he could. From grammatical errors to pronunciation mistakes to misspellings in email messages, this guy couldn’t resist adding his two cents and showing everyone how smart he was and how dumb everyone else was. How did people like this person? They hated him.

Public Speaking Myths: Joining Toastmasters will Make You a Better Speaker

It seems like every business expert that also has speaking experience likes to throw in a line about joining Toastmasters International to become a better speaker. Some of these people joined a club and it helped them become better speakers while others simply regurgitate this advice from other sources. Although Toastmasters has worked for a lot of folks (myself included), simply joining won’t necessarily make you a better speaker.

Three Reasons Why You’re Cheating Yourself by NOT Improving Your Speaking Skills

More so than any other professional skill, improving your public speaking skills will give you the most benefit in your career whether you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed. Even if you don’t regularly speak to groups, the skills that it takes to communicate effectively to groups and the confidence that you’ll gain will automatically help you in interpersonal situations. So here are the top three reasons why you should improve your speaking skills.

Reason #1: The Skills are Transferable