I’ve said for a while that the evaluations you receive and give at a Toastmasters meeting are Toastmasters’ secret sauce. Immediate feedback has always been recognized as the best way to learn. That reinforcement of your good skills and a look at what could be done to improve make you better faster than everything else.
The evaluation has 2 parts. The verbal evaluation is the speech that’s given during the club meeting. The written evaluation is a form you’ll download from the Pathways website for the evaluator to take notes on and return to you after the meeting.
As the speaker, you need to provide the evaluation form from the project. On the surface, this evaluation form looks fairly standardized. They are. There aren’t significant changes from one project evaluation form to another. What is different? Continue reading “Pathways Evaluations”
Every project has several steps. You’ll start with a pretest to determine where you stand.
The tests in particular need to be full screen. So make sure you open the pop-up window all the way – some of the test instructions won’t show up in the small window.
Pathways pretests aren’t programmed the same way as the rest of the site. In general, you just press the arrow on the right side of the screen to move to the next page. However, on the tests, you select your answer for each question, but when you get to the last question, you have look at the bottom of the window to see a button that says “submit.” Continue reading “Don’t Forget Your Post-Test”
Level 1 sounds… basic. Like boot camp. Where you start.
Level 1 Confusion
This is your first introduction to the education program and to be honest, I found it very confusing at the start. I didn’t understand how the projects worked and was often struggling with them. At the rollout of Pathways, nobody had any experience understanding the flow of Level 1.
There are 4 projects in Level 1, but one of the projects, Evaluation and Feedback, has several distinct parts to it – 2 speeches PLUS an evaluation.
So you have more work than you’d think.
You start with the Ice Breaker speech project. In Project 2, you give a different speech from your Ice Braker. You’ll give it 2 times – the second time, you try to use the points of growth that your evaluator gave you to improve it. Then you serve as someone else’s evaluator. Finally, you have another speech that requires some research and organization. We’ll cover each of these projects in future podcasts – so stay tuned!
Where you start in Toastmasters is with the Ice Breaker Speech.
For some people, the assessment was simply a confirmation of what they want: they came in already knowing where they want to go.
But what if the assessment didn’t give you the answer you expected? If you’re not sure or confused by the recommendations from the Assessment, you may need more information.
Do you know where you want to go? Just put the destination into your smartphone and let the map program give you directions.
But what if you don’t know where you want to go? Maps don’t help you. You need something else… to inspire you, to give you ideas… to help you find out what you need to know. How about a catalog?
There was a time when everything you needed you could find in the Sears catalog. Nowadays, that’s probably how we would describe Amazon. How do you find everything you need about Pathways? With the Pathways Catalog, of course. Continue reading “Pathways Catalog and Reference Guide”
Welcome to Toastmasters. We’ve been a world leader in public speaking training for nearly 100 years. But as you develop your public speaking skills, you’re going to need something else – leadership training. If you’re a communicator, you’re going to be seen as a leader. Toastmasters has been revamping our education program to increase leadership training opportunities. This led to the introduction of Pathways, built with the new century in mind. We’ve upgraded to a new experience with more training by videos online, online tracking of your work, and exciting new challenges that we find today in social media. We’ve even got podcasting! Continue reading “The Assessment: How to Pick Your Pathway”
Toastmasters has been around nearly 100 years. As a leader in the public speaking field, it has taught millions of people around the world.
In the past two years, Toastmasters has rolled out its newest education program PATHWAYS. Using modern technology and updated techniques, Pathways has expanded Toastmasters beyond the manuals that were developed decades ago. Incorporating leadership training in almost every program, now Toastmasters will build their leadership and public speaking skills together.
In the past, Toastmasters 101 focused on the Competent Communicator manual. However, the manual is no longer available for purchase and will be totally phased out by July, 2020. We have kept up the podcasts that talk about the CC Manual because the content – public speaking skills – hasn’t changed. It’s just now introduced in new ways in Pathways.
Welcome to the New Toastmasters 101 Podcast.
We will be introducing the newest podcasts featuring Pathways soon. These short podcasts will cover a few details about each of the Pathways and various levels and projects. Each podcast will be short to focus on only one topic.
After about a year in Toastmasters as you complete your Competent Communicator manual, you might be wondering what’s next. Is the CC all that Toastmasters has to offer you?
Moving Too Fast?
You may hear some older Toastmasters say that you shouldn’t go too fast through the Competent Communicator manual. They have a valid point: the longer you’re in Toastmasters, the more speeches and more evaluations you’ll see and learn from. I strongly believe that you learn more about your speaking from the evaluations you give others.
If you rush through the CC, you are depriving yourself of a lot of learning. But the great value of Toastmasters is that you work at your own speed. If you can get through the CC in a few months and are comfortable doing so, don’t let me stop you!
I can say that because…
The Competent Communicator Isn’t the End
When you finish the CC, you’re not done with what Toastmasters offers. We’ve got a lot more for you to learn.
Prepared Material Series
If you joined Toastmasters because your boss told you to, was it because you’re going to be giving presentations of material related to work? I’d recommend you take a look at the Better Speaker and Successful Club series of speeches. They are available for free by download on the Toastmasters.org site.
Let me acknowledge that I commonly refer to these speeches as “zombie” speeches. In the past, TI gave you the slides and a script – thus, a zombie could do these. They were… terrible. Horrible. Important information for speakers or for clubs to be successful, but the format was less than stellar.
In the last few years, I believe that TI learned that these speeches had to be customized for the speaker. So now they give you an outline of the material (you could probably still find the slides somewhere but DON’T!) and let you create a speech that suits your style and your audience. Toastmasters even has a standard template for Powerpoint presentations for you to use if you like. You can check out their branding information here.
I think that these speeches can teach you how to take someone else’s material and make it your own. In the business world, that skill alone can be vital to your career!
We do have another series, the Leadership Excellence Series, which focuses more on leadership than communication. These have more application outside Toastmasters.
Looking to improve your skills in a specific way? Look at our Advanced Manual series. We have 15 manuals with 5 projects each that focus on different aspects of public speaking. Check out this link to a district’s examination of each of the manuals where you’ll find all of them with a list of the projects inside.
You buy the manuals from Toastmasters.org – but wait until you get the freebie coupon when you get your Competent Communicator Certificate in the mail. You get two manuals for free! Take advantage of this!
Consider an Advanced Club. These clubs have a membership requirement that requires a certain number of speeches be completed before you can join. The Toastmasters in these clubs are often looking for deeper, more insightful evaluations and longer presentation times. Since some of the advanced manual speeches are longer than the average 5 to 7 minute projects, these clubs tend to hold longer meetings but only meet monthly. They are worth your time if you want to move up in Toastmasters.
The Award System
You’ll hear people stick letters after their names… CC, CL, ALB, ACG, DTM.
(Toastmasters is full of acronyms!)
Those letters indicate how far the member has gone through the Education tracks. We have several award levels split between two tracks: Education and Leadership. Each award has a set of requirements that you can find on the Toastmasters site. When you finish your Competent Communicator manual, you can put CC after your name too. Finish the CL and you add it “CC, CL” and so on all the way up to DTM: Distinguished Toastmaster, the highest award we give.
Don’t think that it’s a simple or easy process. A rough estimate shows that the DTM award is granted after some 7 hours of on-stage presentations and at least 1.5 years of officer service to a club and the district. This is a challenging course and, in my opinion, the equivalent of a masters degree in practical communication. Like the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout award, very few people do achieve it. The estimates run between 2% and 6% of members achieve this.