By Greg Pick, DTM, PDD, Pathways Coordinator
What practical techniques have you developed since the Pathways Learning Experience rolled out? Just 18 months have passed since the Pathways Learning Experience became the Toastmasters curriculum for members to improve and develop communication and leadership skills! The prior method of getting education content from manuals became obsolete. Upon close inspection, we can see that the content located in the manuals has been transitioned among the various Pathways projects. The excitement and camaraderie experienced when attending our club meetings, including receiving positive, valuable feedback from a fellow member did not change.
I want to share three practices that I believe have made implementing the Pathways Learning Experience more effective and beneficial to me and my club.
The first recommendation relates to learning the content and being prepared to develop speeches. I set aside 30 minutes each week to review a project in my path. If that is too often, you could choose once or twice a month to work on your Pathways path. I stay engaged with the program and can see the progress of becoming a better me.
The second recommendation relates to the fact that all projects are not created equal. Many of the projects on Levels 4 or 5 require a little more planning or time to implement. For example, Leading in Your Volunteer Organization asks that you serve as a leader for a minimum of six months and obtain feedback from your peers. You can review the assignments for all the projects in any path, including the Levels 4 and 5 projects, on the District 25 Pathways resources page here. Choose a Path then select the project of interest.
|Dynamic Leadership||Persuasive Influence|
|Effective Coaching||Presentation Mastery|
|Engaging Humor||Strategic Relationships|
|Innovative Planning||Team Collaboration|
|Leadership Development||Visionary Communication|
The third practice involves having one or several project speeches prepared without having a speech assignment. We fondly call these “hip pocket” speeches. I believe this practice cascades from the other two and has at least two huge benefits. When we take the time to review and complete a project, the assignment and recommended outcome is to prepare a speech related to your experience from implementing the project or discuss some aspect of your experiences on a topic such as your leadership style. We have all experienced a club meeting that has an assigned speaker who cannot speak. I can step up and benefit because I move more quickly through my Path. The club benefits because fellow attendees learn from the speaker and speech evaluator.
Following the practical Pathways practices to spend a small amount of time reviewing the curriculum, looking ahead at larger projects, and having a “hip pocket” speech ready, results in the following benefits: we are more engaged in Pathways, we continue to learn and grow, and we have more exciting meetings.