You can find the list of the new Pathways options on the Toastmasters.org website. They are usually listed in alphabetical order:
- Dynamic Leadership
- Effective Coaching
- Engaging Humor
- Innovative Planning
- Leadership Development
- Motivational Strategies
- Persuasive Influence
- Presentation Mastery
- Strategic Relationships
- Team Collaborations
- Visionary Communication
There are two basic level pathways: for public speaking, we’ve got Presentation Mastery. For leadership, Leadership Development.
Some things you should know about the Pathways options.
- All of them are currently available online in English. Some of them available in other languages online. Not all are ready for print, so if you want to get a print copy of the projects, you should check to be sure that the one you want is available before paying for it.
- It looks like there’s a lot of similarities between the Pathways. In Level 2, there’s a lot because of the Mentoring Project and most of the pathways have either the Communications Style or Leadership Style test. Does that mean you’re going to hear the same speeches from everybody? Not at all. The projects have some direction on how to present the material or what the speech topic should be (in the Mentoring Project, you’re to talk about a time when you personally were mentored.) I am always impressed by the variety and perspectives that the speakers bring to these speeches.
What? Everyone starts with the same material in Pathways?
Yes, we do. When you think about it, it makes sense. Plenty of people are not going to start with presentation mastery – which kinda sounds like an advanced course, doesn’t it? – they’re going to pick what interests them or what sounds like the reasons why they joined. Daniel Rex said that the most popular Pathway is Innovative Planning – and that’s after he admitted that the assessment is weighted toward Presentation Mastery. So Toastmasters has to be prepared that any new member might pick any pathway – and start with the very beginning material.
So regardless of the path you pick, you’re going to start in the same place that everyone else does.
For new members, this is good. There will be plenty of people in the club who are familiar with the projects or are going through them all at the same time. We can support each other.
For advanced members who fondly recall the classic Toastmasters program, this material will be familiar. Some people will find it too simplistic. Well, yeah. They’ve already completed this work once. For the experienced Toastmasters, their challenge is going to be different from the new member’s facing fears and writing the first speech. Make this material challenging to yourself! Whether you’re facing your fears and stepping up to give your first speech or if it’s a 20th or 200th, it’s up to you to learn from every speech.
If you’re a long-term Toastmaster, you may remember the Better Speaker or the Successful Club series of speeches. I’ve called those Zombie Speeches. Back in the day, we had scripts and PowerPoint presentations that we were to give. Smart speakers found ways to customize the speeches. I think I’ve given the Club Roles speech at least a half dozen times and I’ve changed it up each time. If you’re an advanced, experienced Toastmaster, you need to have the same sort of creativity that you used on those speeches. Instead of being unhappy that the Toastmasters Pathways options seem repetitive, look at them as a challenge.
Tomorrow, we’ll talk about Level 1 – what to expect and how to move through it.