Pathways is the way Toastmasters structures its education program. You are guided through a series of projects (mostly speeches) that are designed to develop your skills as a public speaker and other aspects of leadership. There are several Pathways to choose from, so that you can tailor your experience to your own developmental needs.
Each Pathway has 5 Levels and a total of about 15 speeches, plus some additional assignments that can mostly be accomplished through taking roles in club meetings. Level 1 and Level 2 are basically the same for every Pathway:
Level 1 involves a total of five speeches:
- Icebreaker (introduce yourself to the club, talk about practically any aspect of who you are)
- Writing a speech with purpose – a step up from the Icebreaker, this involves a speech with a specific goal
- Evaluation and Feedback – give a speech on any topic, receive feedback and use that feedback to improve with your next speech
- Introduction to Vocal Variety and Body Language – focus on these two key elements of speech delivery
Level 2 involves three speeches, with minor differences between the Paths. Most include reflecting on your leadership style or your communication style. There is a lot of freedom in the topics you choose.
Which Pathway is Right for You?
Levels 3, 4 and 5 are where the Pathways diverge. They involve speeches specific to your chosen Pathway plus numerous elective speeches. So the path-specific speeches for Levels 3, 4 and 5 are what should most influence your choice of Pathway. Many are quite specialised (for example, Effective Coaching, Strategic Relationships); the two most generally-useful ones for people who simply want to become better at public speaking are:
- Presentation Mastery: L3 – Choose a topic that lends itself to speaking persuasively; L4 – Deliver a speech to a difficult audience; L5 – deliver a 20-minute keynote speech. This is the most popular Pathway.
- Visionary Communication: L3 – Develop a communications plan for a real or imaginary event; L4 – Develop a plan for communicating change to an audience; L5 Develop a vision (one speech) and present a plan to bring it to fruition (second speech)
For more information, please visit Toastmasters.org Pathways page.