pathways launch day – initial observations

While I’ve been in Pathways long enough to complete four levels, today is my first day as an officer in a Pathways club. So what did I observe?

Choosing a path

The self assessment has more questions than from when I took it in December. You do have the option to skip the assessment entirely and just pick a path. I recommend taking it though. It’s interesting to see what the system suggests for you.

Approving awards

Once a member picks a path, you have the ability to submit awards for the levels. (Obviously nobody completed a level on day one.) For how to approve levels, see this blog post. Still, it is cool to see our VPE’s name having the option in Club Central.

Reports have lag

The reports in base camp manager get pathways “periodically”. I think it is every few hours, but hard to be sure. However you can click the triangle and refresh at any time.

how to create a shared email account for pathways

Toastmasters is asking for an email account that three people can access for Pathways:

On April 25, TI contacted the VPEs, Presidents and Secretaries of all clubs in District 46 and advised them briefly of their roles as “Base Camp Managers” for their clubs under Pathways. The VPE will be responsible – with the President and Secretary as backup – for performing certain tasks in Base Camp. TI recommended the club establish a single email address accessible by all three club officers. Base Camp notifications will be sent to this email address listed in Club Central. Please review this April 25 email for more details.

So how do you do this? In a corporate club, you can use a shared mailbox and optionally set it up to forward to your actual email. Luckily, there is a free equivalent.

Creating a shared gmail account

Sign up for a new free gmail account. For example toastmasters12345@gmail.com (where 12345 is your club number). Or any other address that is free. Give this address to Toastmasters.

Now, I know what you are thinking. Who needs another address to log into. Or maybe your employer blocks gmail. Well no worries. You’ll never need to log in again. You can setup a filter to forward all emails from toastmasters:

  1. Go to the email forwarding page: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#settings/fwdandpop
  2. Click “add a forwarding address” and add the President’s email
  3. Repeat for VPE and Secretary.
  4. Go to the email filters view: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#settings/filters
  5. Click “create a new filter”
  6. Enter toastmasters.org in the from box
  7. Click “create a filter with this search”
  8. Click “forward” and choose the address of your president
  9. Create two more filters – one for your VPE and one for your President

Alternatively, you can see what actually goes there. I suspect that signing into Base Camp once a week removes the need for the email. But it is just a suspicion right now.

completing toastmasters pathways level 2 before level 1 is approved

See my main Presentation Mastery Pathways page for some context.

I completed all the projects in level 1 on January 4. My level 1 actually got approved today due to some difficulties in processing. I had lots of speaking opportunities in the club though and I successfully completed all the level 2 projects before I obtained access in Base Camp. This blog post is about that journey!

Each path has three required projects for level 2. All of them have the “Introduction to Toastmasters Mentoring” project. The Presentation Mastery path also has “Understanding your Communication Style” and “Effective Body Language.”

For level 2, you can do the three projects in any order. I describe them here in the order I did them.

Introduction to Toastmasters Mentoring

On January 10th, a speaker at our Speechcraft session cancelled so I jumped in with this speech. Since level 2 was locked, I went online to see if anyone had uploaded the PDF. I found out that a club shared the “Introduction to Toastmasters Mentoring” PDF online (link no longer works). The description on mentoring vs coaching was excellent. I like how the project has you speak about a time you were mentored.

For more on this project or how to download the evaluation sheet, see my starting level 2 blog post.

Effective Body Language

On January 16th, I was giving members of my New York club an unofficial preview of Pathways. I choose to use the “Effective Body Language” speech for this. I couldn’t find the PDF manual online. Instead I went to the “Speeches and Evaluations” section of Base Camp and downloaded the evaluation sheet. I gave my speech and got evaluated.

Now (as I write this blog post), I’m reading the actual project. I learned that I was supposed to get feedback from a mentor or reviewer while practicing. Oops. The online project also contains good tips on posture, stance, position and movement. I need to move more deliberately when I speak! There was also good descriptions of the four different types of gestures: descriptive, emphatic, suggestive and prompting. There was a video and great interactive exercises. Finally, there were references to culture and the visual impaired.

Understanding your Communication Style

One of my clubs meets on Thursdays lunchtime. At the January 18th meeting, we had a speaker cancel the evening before. This happens sometimes. Work is of course the priority! As a DTM, I knew it would be no trouble to put together a speech the night before. And it was a perfect opportunity to complete level 2!

The same club that shared the “Introduction to Toastmasters Mentoring” also club shared the “Understanding your Communication Style” PDF online.

I read the PDF. It contains an excellent 12 question “test” where you answer how you view yourself. Then you add up the scores to determine your communication style:

  • Analytical
  • Direct
  • Initiating
  • Supporting

You can then read how each communication style interacts with the others. (The online version is better because it automatically tallies your score and lets you control the order in which you read about the styles.)

Not surprisingly, I’m mainly analytical/direct. Then I had to write a speech. Since Pathways is new, I chose to include a couple sentences on what each was. Then I had the audience vote on which they thought was my predominant style. The majority of my speech was me telling a story of a strength (or perceived weakness) of my interactions with each of the four styles. It wound up being a great speech. Our VPE even suggested that I save it for the humorous speech contest.

This is a great project and really shows the benefit of the Pathways educational program!

Submitting level 2

Since I did all three projects on paper, I went back and clicked through in Base Camp. Then I emailed my evaluations to our club leadership for approval. And now they know what to do so getting access to Level 3 should be fast!