Since March 2018, Pathways is the way to go for all Toastmasters in District 59. If you want to know more about what Pathways is, you can find a first introduction to Pathways.
Now that you know what it is, how do you get started? Let’s start with the word “pathways”. It really says it all: there are different paths and you have to choose one. There are 10 paths to choose from, but before we get into the paths, it is important to understand how they differ and how you should choose the right path for you.
In every path you have 5 levels.
In the first level you start by mastering the fundamentals. This means that you have 3 mandatory projects that are the same for every path, because every toastmaster needs to master the fundamentals of public speaking.
Level 2 is about learning your style. Once more, you have 3 mandatory projects in this level, which vary among the paths, but not that much.
From level 3 onwards the paths start to diverge significantly. In level 3, 4 and 5 you have one mandatory project and additional elective projects. All the mandatory projects differ in these levels, with the exception of the smaller “Reflect on Your Path” project at the end of each level 5.
The eleven paths that are available at this point (April 2019) can be subdivided in how much leadership is present in the required projects of these paths. This means that depending on how important leadership is to you, you can pick a path that is more focused on leadership or more focused on communication.
- Almost no leadership: Presentation Mastery, Engaging Humor
- Light on the leadership: Motivational Strategies, Visionary Communication, Leadership Development
- Medium leadership (a project on ‘lead a team’ is in level 5 of these paths): Team Collaboration, Strategic Relationships, Dynamic Leadership
- Lots of leadership (a ‘High Performance Leadership’ project is in level 5 of these paths): Effective Coaching, Persuasive Influence, Innovative planning
When you go to the toastmasters.org website, you are able to take a test to find out which path fits you. It will give you three options with some basic descriptions of what each path entails. If you trust the algorithm, feel free to pick the path it recommends. Personally I don’t find that sufficient information to make the decision, taking into account that a path will probably take you about 1,5 to 2 years to complete.
So what would I recommend to do? First think about why you are in Toastmasters. What is your goal? What do you want to get out of Toastmasters? Then take a look at the different paths and at the mandatory projects of levels 3, 4 and 5 of each path and see which fit your personal goals.
What is important to mention here is that many of the mandatory projects are elective projects in the other paths. This means that even if you like a project a lot, you don’t necessarily have to take the path in which this project is mandatory. You can check if it is also an elective project in the other paths.
To help you choose, I have found some resources that can help you. For example, you can find a summary of all paths on this one page. For further information I would recommend going to the district 4 website about pathways.
In my next post I will explain how to get started in the online tool Basecamp, which is the online tool where you can find everything Pathways.