I’ve been a Toastmaster for over eight years now. My membership and the awards I have earned have made a tremendous difference in my life. I am now an experienced public speaker with a long resume of presentations in the greater Pittsburgh area.
There is one downside to being a Toastmaster, though. During our club meetings we have an Ah Counter and a Grammarian. Once you become aware of Ahs and Ums, you will never listen to a speech in your entire life without feeling the urge to whip out a pen and count them. Now you might say, “Everybody does it, why should I even bother to improve my speaking skills?” Do you want to be ordinary or extraordinary?
Your next question will be, “If I can’t say Ah, what should I say?” The answer is: nothing. That’s right, the pause is the answer. Say nothing at all until you have collected your thoughts to continue. You will discover that a pause has the effect that everyone will think you have something very important to say and will listen intently.
Image: commons.wikimedia.org (Author: Johannes Jansson)