Tips for the Grammarian in Toastmasters

As a Grammarian in a Toastmasters meeting, do you feel at a loss for identifying things to jot down in your report? That can be a tough spot to be in because if you don’t have things jotted down, you don’t have anything to report.

Role of Grammarian
Role of Grammarian

Don’t worry for we have got your back covered. Here are some tips to help you fill every section of your Grammarian’s report.

Tips on finding commendations

  • Watch out for alliterations, especially in the prepared speech segment. Prepared speakers generally use alliterations in their speeches for ornamental purpose. This makes them common and easy to spot. After all, you would really have to be dozing to not hear “Big, bright, bold.”
  • In a Toastmasters meeting, it’s not uncommon to see members flaunting uncommon words and phrases from their arsenal. Every session witnesses some word usages that are not typical. These can find mention in your good usage of words / phrases section.
  • Prepared speeches also have a scope for metaphor. To make concepts simple or to generate vivid imagery, speakers generally use references like “it was as calm as the ocean before the storm” or “She was like sunshine.” These are again easy to spot and make your report look good.
  • As a Grammarian is supposed to give feedback on language, good sentences that demonstrate great structuring or rhyming too qualify for citation.

Tips on finding recommendations

  • One segment that is a treasure house of language recommendations is the impromptu speaking session. Generally when people speak at length on an unprepared topic, it is common to mess up tenses.
  • Pronunciation errors also make up for a great Grammarian report. When uttering words that are uncommon or technical, people tend to mess up on pronunciation.
  • Suggesting better words or the right words in a speech can also help you shine as a Grammarian. For example – someone uttered “she looked at me with a sad expression” It might have been better phrased as “she looked at me with a sombre expression” (Please note – in giving this example, I phrased it as “someone uttered” and did not mention the name of the TM who made the error in pronunciation. This is in line with the rule of skipping names when mentioning the wrong use of language to avoid embarrassing the speaker”

Tips for selecting the Word of the Day.

  • One good practice is to choose a word of the day that is related to the theme. For example – if the theme is “Space”, a good choice of word can be eclipse. It’s related to the theme and finds common usage as well. For example – “My performance was eclipsed by hers”
  • The choice of word while related to the theme should not be technical or too tough to use in common conversation. In the above example Solstice though related to the theme, would be a poor choice.
  • Give sufficient example of the word of the day usage in sentences. You may also give synonyms of the word to make it crystal clear where the word may be used.

Here’s a hack for the smart mind – the prepared speech segment gives you ample scope to fill your commendation slots while the Table Topic segment is good to fill your recommendation slots.

Did these tips come in handy to you? Do let us know.


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