by Kyle Hall, Immediate Past District Director

I have heard from a few long time Toastmasters that:

  • “Pathways is not as good as the Legacy System.”
  • “I love the manuals.  If I can’t do them, I’ll just give non-manual talks.”
  • “In Pathways Toastmasters has lost its way.”

I grew up in Toastmasters’ manual system.  I was marinated in it.  I’ve learned allot through it and I have a great deal of respect for it.  
There was a problem, however, with the Legacy system.  Toastmasters statistics showed that only about 10% of all people joining Toastmasters ever completed the Competent Communicator manual.  By any measure, that is a failing system.

Toastmasters International…our mother-ship, an organization made up of Toastmasters and run by Toastmasters, created the Legacy system.  When they decided to offer us a new system, designed to fix the problems with the old system, I decided to trust them and jump into Pathways with both feet.
I’m been playing in Pathways for a year and half now.  There are aspects of this new system I love, and some aspects that I believe need to be improved.  I recently realized something important, however.  Pathways projects from the higher levels can support achieving our real life goals.

What do I mean?

If you look at the projects from Level 3, 4 or 5 of your Path, you’ll notice many of them are serious projects, not just 5 – 7 minute speeches.  As a for instance, one of the available projects is to write a compelling blog.  Completing this project is going to take some work and some time.  At the end, you give the 5 – 7 minute speech about what you learned.  Way more important than the concluding speech, however, is that you’ve created, written and publicized blog.  When the project is done, you have a product that is still out there on the internet, to be found and read by those seeking what you have to offer.

  • Any person wanting to learn about social media marketing, supporting a cause through blogging, becoming a writer or content marketer could us this project to move them closer to their professional goal.  
  • Last year, while District Director, I used my Level 3 project of Write a Communication Plan, to improve my communication with our members.  It made me think much more deeply about what to communicate to whom and how.
  • One of my club members used her Path’s High Performance Leadership project to organize one of the most well attended and high praised club events I’ve ever seen.

These are only three of the many Pathways projects available. 

Have you looked at Levels 3, 4 and 5 of your Path?  Have you considered how one or more of these projects can help you move toward your life goals?

Want to learn more about making Pathways work for you? Come to Mining Toastmasters Treasurer, our Division B Member Development Day on Saturday morning, October 19th.