Pathways Education System

Toastmasters offers 10 individualized Pathways:

Each Pathway has five levels:

  1. Mastering fundamentals

  2. Learning your style

  3. Increasing knowledge

  4. Building Skills

  5. Demonstrating expertise

Each pathway contains two to three projects per level for a total of at least 14 projects per path. Each project focuses on a single, specific theme to help members improve their communication and leadership skills in a particular area.


TIPS from a toastmaster. Tackling project 4

Jeff McRaven discusses how he tackled project 4 of the Competent Communication handbook.

Title – The Great Molasses Flood of 1919

Project 4 is all about using correct grammar. That’s simple for me ‘cause I talk goodly.  In fact, I’m probably the bestest talker I know.  Like totally, you know?

In truth, my mother was an English major.  When I was naughty, she made me read Edmund Spenser poetry.  I was a VERY good child.

The main thing here is to watch your um’s and ah’s, pronounce everything correctly, and stay away from jargon and slang.  In short, use correct English.  The best piece of advice I can offer is to stay within yourself.  By that I mean don’t try to use words you don’t ordinarily use.  If it sounds odd to you, it will sound odd to your audience.

‘Slow down’ is good advice too.  If you talk fast, you are more bound to slur words together or clip the ends of words.  That’s a sure-fire way to turn “thrust” into “thruss”.

TIPS from a Toastmaster

Coming up with ideas for a speech is tricky. Sometimes it is helpful to have examples to spark ideas.

Or maybe you are considering joining Toastmasters? Part of being a member is working through the projects in the Competent Communication handbook. Each project has you focus on a different area to help build speaking skills.

See below for one Toastmaster’s experience with the third project–

Project 3 – Get to the Point


Title – The Difference Between Hard Drive and Memory

I have a degree in computer science.  I know.  You think I’m a nerd.  Well I’m not.  I have a couple exciting hobbies.  In my spare time I build electronic devices and I also read about U. S. history.  Ladies, the line forms to the left.

Anyway, the manual said I should give a speech with a clear and specific purpose.  As a computer support guy, I am constantly confronted with people saying they need more memory because it is full.  Or they need a new hard drive because they only have four gigabytes.  Riiiight.  So over the years, I’d developed a short lecture about the difference between hard drive and memory.  This one was easy peasy because I was explaining something I had explained dozens of times before.

So that’s my advice.  Everybody has something they explain constantly.  Explain it to us.

When writing the speech, try starting with a single sentence that is the point of what you are talking about (this is called a thesis).  For example:  “domestic cars are best.”  Then, get rid of anything that doesn’t directly relate to the thesis.  Make your points, but never get very far away from your thesis.

by Jeff McRaven

Tips from a Toastmaster

Our first speech in Toastmasters is the Icebreaker. It can be scary! BUT, you — like all of us — can get through it.

Many of us when we’re starting out wonder what the Icebreaker speech is all about.

Here are some tips from a Toastmaster…

Project 1 – Icebreaker


Title – The Complete History of Jeff McRaven (Abridged)

I gave a short bio of myself. There were a number of embellishments. Nobody noticed or cared.

For a lot of people, public speaking is right up there with spiders and heights, so the whole purpose of this speech is just to get you started. For many, this is the most agonizing speech. But it doesn’t need to be. We all understand that you are nervous and you have to start somewhere.

Honestly, you could get up there and absolutely tank. Don’t worry about it! We get it. We’re here to encourage you.

We’ll like your speech. It won’t matter what you say. What you have to say is almost incidental to the speech. We are seeing someone work up the courage to try. We love to see that. The speech itself is icing on the cake.

TED Talks — How Do They Do It?

You could give a TED Talk.

Think about it. If you have an innovative, original idea, you could be up there. You could be walking the red dot.

Many of us are Toastmasters because we enjoy challenging ourselves. How else do you explain signing up for a club that forces us to face the fear of public speaking? How else do you explain the willingness to work at this all the time?

‘Ah,’ you say, ‘but I’ve found that it’s a lot of fun!’ Well, of course it is! Challenging yourself and discovering that you CAN do it — a lot of fun.

If you’re past the first hurdle of overcoming jitters (well, most of them), consider what is your next challenge going to be? It could be TED.

That said, here’s the article. Let me know if you are chosen!

How to Land a TED Talk

Victorious Public Speaking

When I joined Toastmasters, I had a goal — public speaking. One of the places that I wanted to speak was at the Home & Garden Show. You may know (or not) that I am in the landscaping industry, so it makes sense for my business to present there.

Get the butterflies to fly in formation!
Get the butterflies to fly in formation!

I’m excited because TODAY, I will be speaking at the Home & Garden Show. For many years this is something that I’ve wanted to do and never did.

Once you get past your initial fear of public speaking, it can be fun. Yes, really! Am I nervous about today? A little. But, I have most of my butterflies flying in formation, so I know that I will get through it, regardless.

This is not the end of it for me, though. My next goal will be a little higher because I’m not done yet.