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To Boldly Go … Down Pathways –

Laura McHarrie has chosen to deliver her penultimate Advance Communicator Gold speech as part of her Area Director visit, as forthcoming changes to the Toastmasters learning programme lends itself to project 4 in the speeches by management manual. So with her speech entitled To Boldly Go … Down Pathways; please welcome Laura McHarrie


How many have been following the online progress of the new Toastmasters Pathways programme?  How many have no idea what I am talking about? 

Heyho … I’m already on a hiding for nothing then?  Hell – let’s go for it anyway.

As your Area Director, last year, some of you may recall how much I loved coming to Chaseside for its fast and furious, no messing sessions. I also loved the emphasis you paid to mentoring.  I do hope that hasn’t changed?

The thing is Scottie, and other trekkers, Pathways, the new Toastmasters education programme, began its roll out last month.  It has been trialled, tested, and tweaked by a body of volunteer members to meet the needs of 21st Century Toastmaster.  We are now on warp factor 9.  It will hit this Starship sometime in September 2017.  

I’d like to point out that mentoring is at the very heart of the new programme.  Indeed, there is a special Pathways accredited Mentor Programme for those who want to validate their mentoring skills.

What’s more you – the professionals here in Chaseside  are the target audience for this change. The chances are that you or some of your past members have found the current programme difficult to get through in the time you have available – am I right?  

I bet you have thought that public speaking skills were a great way to build your communication confidence?  But the competent leadership programme was more like management than leadership and very parochial?  Yep me too!

Plus, the communication projects were missing some vital 21st Century communication skills, like How to Blog, Video conferencing, and Podcasting for example?

True? Yep, even if we do gulp at the idea!

The thing is that, the current leadership and communication tracks haven’t been updated since the 1970s. That’s 40 years ago!  The Internet wasn’t even born then!  Pathways modernises the learning experience, offering more opportunities to learn, grow and meet your own personal and professional goals. You’ll have access to videos, interactive quizzes and activities, online feedback and recognition, plus useful tips and much more.

There are 10 paths to chose from:

  • Motivational Strategies
  • Presentation Mastery
  • Leadership Development
  • Innovative Planning
  • Visionary Communication
  • Strategic Relationships
  • Dynamic Leadership
  • Persuasive Influence
  • Effective Coaching
  • Team Collaboration

Each path is made up of five levels which increase in complexity as you progress. 

Level 1: Mastering Fundamentals

Level 2: Learning Your Style

Level 3: Increasing Knowledge

Level 4: Building Skills

Level 5: Demonstrating Expertise

Here is a simplified example of this: please note the introduction to mentoring as an integral part of level two in both paths.


Every path has 10 required projects and 4 elective projects, chosen from a comprehensive list covering a variety of subjects. Each of the 14 projects includes at least one speech. 

It all starts with registering on Basecamp online to assess  of your skills, interests and goals. Basecamp will recommend the three paths that best match your responses.   Then it is up to you to chose.

The great thing about this is you get:

  1. A learning experience that is tailored to your own personal and professional goals
  2. The opportunity to develop many skills relevant to an evolving global marketplace
  3. Recognition of educational achievements sooner and and more frequently

Of course, with any change there are some things that aren’t going to transfer so easily.    Accessing the Internet for learning resources is one and the JP Morgan ‘security shield’ is a probably bigger problem still!

Most of you have access to the Toastmasters International website via your company email address.  I bet most of you won’t remember your password let alone your user name?  In which case you will struggle to access the myriad online education materials.

As a Club you will need to consider how you manage this transition.  I can make some suggestions but I can’t tell you what to do. Caroline and I are both here to support you.  Plus there will be a dedicated Pathways Guide to help you from July onwards.

Finally, from a speech perspective this is as much information as I can give you in the time  I am allowed.  I hope I have given you enough to peak your curiosity to log onto to find out much, much more.  You will need your club membership number which I have here … and your password … which for obvious reasons I do not.  

Pathways …. is life Jim, but not as we know it and from now on it is boldly going forward. And that’s it from me, Scottie, so beam us up!

PS Click her for the answers to the frequently asked questions 

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