I am so glad to be writing about my first experience with Toastmaster’s. Now, as a foreword, I wish to inform that I am a new member. I became a member in March 2018. I started my journey on Pathways directly. So, I am in not the best person to critically assess Pathways with the previous system. However, I was informed that I was the first person at TM La Defense to register on Pathways. I am here to write about my experience.
Before I became a member, I attended the presentation on Pathways. I felt the presentation was complex, especially since I was not aware of the earlier modules. I have been attending TMLD for a good 3 months before I became a member. My objective when I started was simple: Get out of the stage fright and learn how to face a crowd. I volunteered as a table top speaker, whenever I got an opportunity and I realized my confidence grow, the more I attended TM. I also got an opportunity to listen to seasoned speakers, as well as speakers who were just getting started, like me. I was able to identify the differences in body language, the clarity of thought structuring, choice of vocabulary, pauses and engaging the crowd.
This should have been good enough, don’t you all think? But then, I got introduced to Pathways. Initially, I was not fully into it. Obviously, since I was already getting more than I asked for. Honestly, it was Emilie who kept pushing me. I used to get 2 mails every week from her to take up the Pathways assessment.
Despite my reservations, I liked the assessment. It was meant to help identify the path you wish to engage in. But, for me it was a booster to structure my goals and vision, and what I expected from Toastmasters. It helped me channel my thoughts from simply moving out of my short term goals and to think long term. I joined TM to improve my crowd presentation. After I took the assessment, I started thinking “what after”. TM will help me get out of my complexes, I can even get it without becoming a member, just by being a table top guest speaker. But the assessment helped me realize that being a speaker, was more than that. There are different types of speakers. The motivational speaker, the thought leader, the coach, the negotiator. Each comes with a different set of personality traits. These can be built up as you progress.
To put it simply, Pathways is a structured program. I was impressed by the library of resources available on the Pathway website. I chose “Presentation Mastery” based on my evaluation. There are 5 levels in the curriculum with increasing levels of complexity, starting with ice breaker. The mentorship is introduced from the 4th project on. Each project focuses on a specific skill, for example: Presenting based on research, effective body language, being persuasive speaker etc. And each project starts with a video link which simplifies the objectives and the evaluation. Honestly, I feel the planning and structuring in Pathways is better than my B School presentation syllabus.
I am looking forward to work my way through the Pathway and complete it.
(Written by Amit Durgaprasad, sergeant at arms and member for a few months now)