Marilyn Latchford will celebrate 20 years as a Toastmaster in June causing her to say, “My, how time flies!” Recently she completed her third DTM in the traditional programme. She is working in
the ‘Presentation Mastery’ Path and is currently composing a blog to complete Level 4. Marilyn said, “I have chosen a second Path ‘Engaging Humour’ to work on when I’m stalled with my blog.”
Marilyn’s Pathway’s journey began with the choosing of her first path. “I read all the Path descriptions and decided I would start with ‘Presentation Mastery’ to see if there is something new I could learn. I chose ‘Engaging Humour’ because I need to include more humour in my speeches.”
“My first impression about Pathways was made as a Learning Master when we beta tested the new projects. There was so much more resources available to members than the traditional manuals. I was excited to see the finished program become a reality.”
Marilyn’s first impression changed. “I think there is still work to be done to lay a stronger foundation in speaking skills for newer members – perhaps additional projects in Level 2 to build essential speaking skills for newer members and provide a refresher for more experienced members. There should also be higher level projects for more experienced members to keep them interested.”
What surprised Marilyn the most about Pathways? The depth of the resources which are available. For instance, the ‘Discover Your Communication Style’ Project includes a quiz to determine your styles, a description of each style, confirmation that communication styles are situational and several different ways to adapt to each of the communication styles– which led to a great discussion within her club.
When asked what Pathways project she found most helpful and why, Marilyn replied, “I liked the ‘Managing a Difficult Audience’ project. You get experience in managing several disrupters in the audience while delivering a speech using different tools and techniques. My club members were more than ready to fill a role as disrupter so it was a fun exercise.”
Although Pathways has not impacted Marilyn’s life so far, Toastmasters as a whole has. Her communication and leadership skills are light years away from when she started. Perhaps when she finishes her blog and podcast there will be an impact because they certainly stretch you.
Marilyn’s advice on Pathways: “To members transitioning from the traditional program to Pathways, I would say ‘Give Pathways a Chance’. Don’t just do the minimum number of projects, go deeper and stretch yourself. There are so many techniques and tools you can use in the ‘real world’. To newer members starting Pathways, keep stretching and growing – the best is yet to come!”