Don’t quite know how to say this but, um, we’re backsliding.

Or it could just have been one of those days for the good burghers of VanCore, a generally linguistically careful bunch.

“It was very ‘um’-y and ‘ah’-y today,” said Kate, who’d been working hard all meeting tallying up the filler words. There were a lot. Pretty much everyone was in the double digits.

“Um” and “ah” – not to mention “you know,” “yeah,” Uhn huhn” and the good old Canadian “eh” — are considered unwanted verbal tics that good speakers should aim to groom out. Although Bruce once gave a speech called “In Defense of Um,” the consensus is that “um”s and “ah”s bring down apparent IQ faster than aluminum in the tap water. Most of us don’t realize we’re using them unless someone like Kate tells us. Want to do a TED talk one day? Lose the “um”s and “ah”s.

On the plus side, members did very well working the “word of the day,” “bamboozle,” into their speeches. So meeting chair Jonathan suggested a way to make us feel better about ourselves.

When you use the word of the day you get a kind of carbon credit that offsets the “ums” and “ahs” we’ve been spewing.   “Ums and Ahs go into the books as a debit, and and using the word of the day goes down as a credit.

“The goal is Net Zero,” Jonathan said.



About Vancore Toastmasters

Build your public speaking and leadership skills at a dynamic mid-week, mid-day downtown Vancouver Toastmasters club.
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