Getting your fill

Last week I accepted the “ah counter” role at our Toastmasters club meeting.

While there is no intense preparation work needed to serve in the “ah counter” role, it is not an easy job either.

First, I find it challenging both enjoy the essence of a member’s presentation when my primary task is to count all of the filler words that infiltrate into their creation.

Second, meeting participants openly comment about how they dislike the “ah counter” monitoring and tabulating every misplaced syllable. While I know the disparaging comments are about the role and not the person in the role, I still become a bit disheartened.

The ah counter is the monitor of all of the words and phrases that do not add to the content of the presentation and can distract from the primary message in a presentation. These words are considered verbal pauses or filler words/phrases. Some common examples of filler words are: ah, um, like, you know, sooooo, I think.

After monitoring the meeting participants for their use of filler words, the ah counter delivers a 1-2 minute presentation of the results at the end of the meeting. I love to see how members improve over time and use fewer and fewer filler words. Members delivering a prepared speech generally use fewer filler word compared to impromptu responses during table topics.

A type of filler word situation can also happen when creating or reformatting a website. Consider the things you add to your website over time that accumulate, become filler, and distract your customer from the primary reason they are visiting your website.

  • extra required fields in a simple contact form
  • related posts
  • random blocks of color
  • pop-up messages
  • outdated plugins
  • ads that interfere with or overwhelm the page content
  • audio or video that is set to autoplay
  • carousels and slideshows
  • sidebar content that repeats on every page
  • slow loading images

Who can you ask to be the “ah counter” to help find and remove the filler on your website?