Note: Other clubs often separate the functions of this role into two distinct roles (Grammarian and Ah-counter). At MetroSpeakers we combine it into a single role (Wordmaster)!

Being the Wordmaster is an exercise in improving your listening skills.

You have three basic responsibilities:

  1. to comment on the positive and negative uses of English during the meeting;
  2. to introduce a new word and explain the correct use of it;
  3. to count the use of ‘crutches’ such as ‘um’ and ‘err’.

All of these are designed to help your fellow members improve their use of language.

Before the meeting

  • Select a ‘Word of the Day’. It should be a word that will help members increase their vocabulary and one that can be incorporated easily into everyday conversation, but is different from the way people usually express themselves.
    • Adjectives and adverbs are more adaptable than nouns or verbs, but feel free to select your own special word. If you know the theme for the meeting, use this to help you select your word.
  • If in person, display the world large enough to be seen from the back of the room
    • You can also include its part of speech (adjective, adverb, noun, etc.) and a brief definition.
      Prepare a few sentences to explain the meaning of the word and how it is used.
  • Prepare a brief explanation of the duties of the Wordmaster for the benefit of the guests

During your introduction

  • Explain your role during your 2 min slot.
  • Tell the audience that you will be listening carefully to everyone who speaks throughout the evening, paying particular attention to good and bad grammar, interesting or effective use of words and phrases, use of metaphors, similes and triads, too much use of slang, clichés, jargon.
    • Tell them you will report back at the end of the evening.
  • Introduce the word of the evening.
    • Ask the members to incorporate it into their speech throughout the evening.
    • Stick the word, with an example of it being used in a sentence, on the front of the lectern and in front of the role layers’ table with blu tack so that everyone can see it. Stick another copy on top of the lectern with tape and leave it there. This helps you when explaining the word and reminds members to use it.
    • Explain what the word means, where it comes from; give the noun, adjective, verb, adverb, if appropriate.
    • Explain how members can use the word. Give examples of sentences using the word in its different forms.
  • Explain that you will be note any overused words or filler sounds used as a crutch by anyone who speaks during the meeting.
    • Words may be inappropriate interjections, such as and, well, but, so and you know.
    • Common crutch words are: ‘and’, ‘well’, ‘but’, ‘so’, ‘err’, ‘um’, or ‘you know’

During the meeting

  • If meeting online, change your name to include the word of the day. It also helps to periodically post it in the meeting chat throughout the meeting
  • Listen to everyone’s word usage.
    • Write down any particularly good uses of language and your reason for selection. Write down any awkward use or misuse of the language – for example: incomplete sentences, sentences that change direction in mid-stream, incorrect grammar etc. Note the speakers concerned.
    • Listen for words such as ‘and’, ‘well’, ‘but’, ‘so’ or ‘you know’. Make a note of which speaker use which particular fillers and how often.
  • Write down who used the ‘Word of the Day’ (or a derivative of it) and note those who used it correctly or incorrectly.
    Count the number of times that each person speaking used ‘um’, ‘err’ or other crutches or pause fillers while speaking.

During the Wordmaster’s Report

  • Report on what you thought was good and bad language usage and your reasons for selection.
  • Offer the correct usage in every instance where there was a misuse instead of only explaining what was wrong.
  • Announce who used the ‘Word of the Day’ (or a derivative of it) correctly or incorrectly.
  • Report on crutch or filler words.

Helpful Resources

Ah Counter Script and Log

Grammarian Script and Log

Video Examples

Kyle demonstrations how to introduce the Wordmaster role with an explanation at the beginning of a meeting.
Kyle demonstrates how to give the Wordmaster report at the end of a meeting.
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