Toastmasters Pathways Program for Dummies
There are plenty of ways to improve your public speaking skills.
And one of the best routes is thru Toastmasters.
Toastmasters is a global club that helps members improve their communication skills.
You learn how to build a speech, practice a speech & deliver it with full confidence.
In the past few years, Toastmasters has evolved.
It has incorporated the Pathways Program to make the public speaking experience more dynamic.
So if you struggle with speech anxiety, now is the best time to start doing something about it.
In this blog post, I am going to break down the Toastmasters Pathways Program for Dummies.
‘Huh, what does that mean?’
That means we are not going to get too complicated.
We are simply going to cover the basics so you can see the beauty in the Pathways program.
And at the end of the post, you’ll have enough relevant details to decide whether you want to join or not.
Let’s get started.
The Evolution of Toastmasters to Pathways
At the core of it all:
Toastmasters Pathways Program is the different public speaking paths that are best suited for an upcoming speaker’s desires.
We all want to improve public speaking for different reasons.
-Some come to improve their leadership skills.
-Others come so they can feel more confident in front of the camera.
-And others want to improve communication skills so they can work better in teams.
When seeing the different demands for public speaking interests, Toastmasters decided to evolve.
‘How did it evolve?’
When I first started, all speakers worked out of the same book.
It was called the ‘Competent Communicator.’
This book had different speeches that each speaker had to complete.
It was a great way to introduce members to public speaking.
However, this method was a little rigid.
But after noticing the different interests that speakers had, the club decided to create more personalized paths.
Each path will be suitable for YOUR interests.
What is it that YOU want to get better in?
A great analogy is the difference between a one sized fits all suit vs the custom fit suit.
Let’s be real, we all want to look fresh in the custom outfit!
That in a nutshell is the Pathways Program.
The customized public speaking path for you.
Here is the list of paths.
Choosing the Right Pathway for You
Choosing the right path for you comes down to your desires.
What do you want to improve in?
If you have NO clue which path is right for you…
Then you can fill out an evaluation online (after joining) that asks you hyper-targeted questions.
After filling out the evaluation, you will be provided with a few paths which would be great for you.
In context of my life, I wanted to enhance my humor.
I was just starting my YouTube channel and wanted to see how I could deliver my message with some flare.
Humor was key.
So after evaluating my needs, I chose the ‘Engaging Humor’ path.
It fit the needs of my life.
My tip for you choosing your path is simple…
-where you are now
-where you want to be
Then connect the dots.
How Each Path is Similar yet Different
Each of the paths has its unique speeches.
Each path will have a Toastmasters Icebreaker Speech (introductory speech) and then you have your specific speech topics from there.
‘Is there any guidance to how the speeches should be formed?’
Once you access your Toastmasters profile, you will get insights into the intent of the speech, how to structure it & tips on delivery.
Although most of the content for the paths are dissimilar, how the paths are structures is similar.
Each path is broken down into 5 levels.
And your goal is to get thru each of the levels sequentially.
So you cannot jump from level 1 to level 4 and back to level 5.
It’s Level 1 -> Level 2 -> Level 3 etc.
Each of the levels help you get better at the next level.
‘Am I accessing the levels online or on a book?’
Once joining the club, most people are given login information to access it online. If you pay extra, you can get a book. I think online is fine & more dynamic.
After completing each level, your club president or a board member has to sign off on your completion.
This allows you to access the next level.
Once you have completed all 5 levels, then you have completed that path.
‘Can I do more paths after I am done with 1?
Yes, you can.
Electives & Side Projects
What I liked about the Toastmasters Pathways program is the side projects that you can do.
Like starting a podcast, and recording an episode.
This is dope to me because it allows you to see Toastmasters past the level of public speaking alone.
We have communication skills all around us.
Especially with the rise of communications technology.
So side projects keep the paths unpredictable and fun.
You get to choose the right electives for you in context to your path.
Most of the electives are optional.
There are other cool features like the evaluation on how you FEEL before and after a speech.
‘Why is that important?’
It’s important because it gives you more public speaking awareness.
It’s great to know how your emotions work so you can leverage them.
And forcefully getting yourself to do these evaluations compound over time.
The electives & emotional evaluation are a few cool features I noticed while completing my path.
You may discover different features in your path.
Signing up for Toastmasters Pathways Program
If you are interested in learning public speaking, then now is a great time to get started.
Check out the Find a Toastmasters Club tool.
Then, you can go to a few club meetings to see which one you enjoy the most before committing.
Once you find the right club, sign up for a membership.
In the membership, you will be given the option of which paths to join.
And once committing to a path, that’s where the adventure begins.
I got a lot of practical benefits from Toastmasters because I went thru the program twice.
-Once with their initial layout of the Competent Communicator formula.
-The second time was when they incorporated Pathways.
This journey is exciting and allows you to build a community of friendships as well.
Not only do you conquer speech anxiety, but you also conquer social anxiety.
Call that a 2 in 1.
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