Toastmasters Pathways: A Conversation Continued

At the recent 2016 District 21 Fall Conference in Parksville, BC, Anna Rasmussen ACS, ALB

and Nils Erzinger ACB, ALB helped introduce us to Pathways with their presentation “Toastmasters Pathways: A Conversation.” In this article, Anna and Nils explore Pathways further and respond to some common questions from District 21 Toastmasters.

In case you haven’t heard, Toastmasters International will be introducing a brand new revitalized education program to District 21 this coming September. This new program is called Toastmasters Pathways. Click here for a brief overview of Pathways.

1. Why the Change? What are the benefits of Pathways?

In 2010, Toastmasters’ Board of Directors crafted a five-year strategic plan to modernize the communication track and renew the focus on leadership learning. Toastmasters Pathways addresses the growing need to provide greater access to educational materials and expanded online learning resources. The new program continues to offer experiential learning for members while providing a learning structure that is better suited to personalized goal setting and transferable skill development.

2. When can we access materials to get a look at the program?

Due to the fluidity of the rollout process, the exact time frame for each phase cannot be precisely predicted. The roll out phase for District 21 is slated for August/September 2017 as the best case scenario. All District 21 clubs will be encouraged to set Pathways in motion for their members when the roll out phase begins. Your VP of Education will be trained as Base Camp Manager to help you access materials and guide you through the new Pathways program.

3. Will clubs continue to provide manuals from the existing education program? Is there a cutoff date?

All current education manuals including the Competent Communicator and Competent Leadership manuals will be available throughout the two-year transitional phase which concludes at the end of 2019. After this date, all Toastmasters will be transitioned to the new Pathways program and the current education program will be retired.

4. Are there additional costs to Pathways?

Generally speaking, it is intended that members will not incur additional cost from Pathways unless they choose to order printed materials.  The printed materials and associated costs will be posted in the online Toastmasters International shop just as they are currently. Members who choose to have the materials shipped to them from World Headquarters will not have access to the interactive learning tools or to as many learning paths as those who participate online.  There may be a charge for some portions of the online program (similar to the current situation, where your CC/CL manuals are free but your AC manual costs).

5. Why can’t education credits be transferred?

The structure of Pathways is quite different than our current education program. While the current program has separate learning tracks for communication and leadership competencies, the new Pathways program combines and expands on these competencies within project and each learning path. At the heart of Pathways are five core learning competencies: public speaking; interpersonal communication; leading and managing; leading strategically; and building confidence. Each project provides opportunities to develop these core competencies plus other skills that support the disciplines of your chosen learning path.

To learn more, click here.

6. If I can’t transfer my current education credits, what was the point of completing projects in the current program?

Consider for a moment…why did you join Toastmasters? Members overwhelmingly indicate the main reasons for joining Toastmasters are to improve their public speaking skills, build confidence, and become more effective communicators. Each time you complete a project; you learn something new and progress closer to realizing your goals – the main reason for being in Toastmasters! All of our learning – the experiences, relationship building, personal growth, and professional development – we have gained while completing projects in the current education program will remain with us. This is true even if the current educational credits won’t transfer to Pathways. Take a moment to reflect how your investment in yourself has paid off. It’s far beyond any award. Imagine how it will take you forward on your journey in Pathways!

  1. What will the Distinguished Club Program (DCP) look like under Pathways?

The DCP will continue to provide clubs with education, membership and administrative goals. The following table shows the educational goals in the current program and Pathways.



8. How will the online program work for evaluations?

Project evaluation resources will be accessible online via Base Camp. Approximately 50 tutorials will be available to help members navigate the different features of the Evaluation Resources section. Evaluation forms will be different for every project, tailored to assess the skills each member is trying to achieve in that particular project. When a member is preparing to deliver a speech, they can either print the evaluation form and take it with them to the club meeting, or have their evaluator review the project ahead of time and prepare accordingly.

9. How do I apply to be a Pathways Guide?

Pathways Guides will play an integral role in helping members transition to the new Pathways program. All clubs will be assigned a Pathways Guide. You can click here to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of a Pathways Guide. One of the benefits of being a Pathways Guide is the opportunity to earn District leadership experience. This experience will count towards becoming a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM). To apply to be a Pathways Guide, please contact one of the following:

Please include the following information in your contact:

  • Your full name
  • Your membership number
  • Your club(s) name(s) Your club(s) number(s)
  • The Area you wish to serve as Pathways Guide

Your expression of interest will be forwarded to the District 21 Program Quality Director and you will receive further details regarding the application process at that time.

Toastmasters Pathways revitalized education program has inspired a lot of questions and conversation from members around the world. We encourage you to investigate the links provided to learn more and to plan your next steps for a journey in Toastmasters Pathways.

Submitted by Anna Rasmussen ACS ALB & Nils Erzinger ACB ALB

Marketing Resources – Membership Building Ideas

The D21 theme  ‘Building our membership together for success’ reminds us that we all play an important part in helping our clubs succeed.  International Director Margaret Page and District Director Alan Warburton facilitated an early morning conference session featuring several clubs who competed for stage time.  With the assistance of Shawn Gold, who supplied instant feedback via a polling app, we received great take home value, and learned about many successful initiatives taking place in clubs around D21. Keep up the great work, everyone…your efforts are noted and appreciated.

Margaret followed up with us, providing ‘Hundreds of Membership Building Ideas’ for our consideration, saying that this list was compiled by David McAllister, International Director from Region 3 and  a marketing expert–several years ago when he was on the trio.

Is your club looking for an injection of new energy?  Here are a few tips to consider…

●            Plan a special showcase meeting. Invite members from around the district to present a special program. Invite guests and be ready to sign them up on the spot.

●            Take your show on the road. Schedule your meeting in a new location where it will get new visibility. Suggestions: community center, library, retirement community, bookstore, etc. Get the facility to help promote your special appearance. Invite guests.

●            Conduct a Speechcraft. If you do not have enough members to successfully launch the program, call on members from other clubs to help out. Warning: don’t expect someone else to do all the work, though. Charge a fee for the speechcraft that will cover the new member fee and the first six months of dues. At the end of the speechcraft, offer a “free” membership to all successful participants

●            Ask a member from another club (look for one who you believe is especially motivational in their speaking ability) to do an education module at one of your club meetings. Create a guest list to invite prospective members who can benefit from the topic. Choose from the Successful Club or Successful Speaker series. (Note: the evaluation and listening modules work particularly well.)

●            Create a holiday invitation (St. Pat’s, Halloween, Thanksgiving, spring, etc.) and ask each member to hand out invitations to friends and co-workers. Plan your agenda around a holiday theme.

●            Appreciation night: Honor a community member at a special meeting. Ask the guest to say a few words promoting Toastmasters. Be sure to have lots of guests to help express your appreciation.

Quality Clubs Start With Diverse Membership

Having 20-30 members in your club ensures you have the right balance between rotating executives, wide range of speech topics, sharing of meeting roles and an audience to deliver speeches to. It ensures the club holds and maintains quality meetings and likely has regular guests who they convert to members. What is the secret sauce?

Of course there is not one simple answer, each club in unique based on many factors. Overall clubs lose about 40% of their members in any year so it is critical a club always recruits members.

Over my journey I have been inspired by the measures clubs take to keep guests coming and convert guests to members. Recently reading Area Directors club visit reports I noticed a lot of clubs don’t give guests a take away prize. Taking something away gives the guest some information to digest and reminds them to return next meeting. It also provides critical information about joining the club.

Many top performing clubs offer:

  • Toastmaster Magazine
  • Membership application with info about fees.
  • Sheet explaining what Toastmasters International is and something about the club – perhaps a letter from the President can cover this.
  • A ribbon (optional). Toastmasters International offers ribbons and some clubs make their own “I survived” ribbons.

Toastmasters International also sells guest packets:–Guest-Packet

To ensure your guests become members always make sure they leave your meeting with something in their hands.


Michael Bown DTM

District 21 Club Growth Director,  2016-2017

D21 YouTube Video Library

Youtube_graphicClub Building & Member Education Videos

Have you ever wished that you could find someone who could quickly and succinctly explain an officer or club role to you or effectively demonstrate how to deliver a certain type of speech?


Build Membership with an Open House (Karen Knight DTM PDD) Part1 Part2

Making Meetings Fun & Exciting (Joanne Morrison DTM PDG) Part1 Part2

Successful Small Meetings (Doug Thiessen DTM PDG) Part1 Part2

Speechcraft (Barry Monaghan DTM Part1 Part2

District 21 Ambassador Program (Margaret Page DTM) Part1

Club PR & Marketing (Haddy Abra DTM) Part1 Part2

Moments of Truth (Lanny Donald) Part1 Part2 Part3

Training videos for the broader TM educational program, such as ‘The Better Speaker Series’ and ‘The Leadership Excellence Series’ will be created as time and resources permit. You can help by creating some of these yourself.



Member Videos

2008 District 21 Division B Humorous Speech Contest Winner – Natalia Strelkova
2008 District 21 Division B Table Topics Contest Winner – Roger Killen

Click here to access the D21 YouTube Channel.