January 12, 2023
4 min read
Would you like to receive to receive individual and customizable training in motivational strategies? What about effective coaching? Engaging humor?
These are just three of the paths the make up Toastmasters International Pathways, the organization’s educational program for members. Through this program, you can develop career-enhancing skills in public speaking, communication, and leadership.
Continue reading for an overview of Pathways.
Toastmasters International Pathways is an interactive, customizable learning experience for Toastmasters members. Pathways teaches more than 300 competencies in the broad skills of public speaking, communication, and leadership.
The name “Pathways” derives from the 11 learning paths you can choose from (see more on this below). The program is available in several languages, and Toastmasters is continually adding more.
The primary way to access Pathways is through an online platform called Base Camp, which includes videos, quizzes, interactive activities, feedback, and recognition. If you don’t have online access, a limited version of Pathways is available in print for a $25 fee unless you print it yourself.
The cost of your first path is covered by your membership fee. Each additional path costs $20.
Toastmasters International Pathways has 11 paths to choose from. You can complete as many as you want over time. Click on a path for details.
If you’re not sure which path (or paths) to choose, Base Camp includes an online assessment that recommends three paths that match your skills, interests, and goals.
Each path comprises five levels:
In each path, Level 1 (Mastering Fundamentals) comprises these projects:
The required projects in Levels 2 through 5 are unique to each path. In Level 3, you choose two elective projects. In Levels 4 and 5, you choose one elective project in each level.
Let’s take a look at the Toastmasters Ice Breaker speech, since it’s how each pathway begins. Chances are, you’re familiar with the concept of an ice breaker—an activity that aims to help people know each other better and connect with each other. You’ve probably participated in an ice breaker a few times!
Toastmasters International sees the value in these connections, so they’ve coupled up the ice breaker concept with their focus—public speaking—to create the Toastmasters Ice Breaker speech.
The Ice Breaker speech is the first project in the first level of each path in the Toastmasters Pathways learning experience—whether you’re on the Effective Coaching path, the Engaging Humor path, or any of the 11 paths.
When someone delivers a Toastmasters Ice Breaker speech during a club meeting, they tell a story about themselves that introduces them to other club members. They might do this when they’re new to the club or later on when they want to share something about themselves that they haven’t talked about before.
You can experience an Ice Breaker speech firsthand by visiting a Toastmasters club meeting. If you’re not a member, you may attend as a guest. Clubs meet in person and/or online.
Next, let’s take a look at a sample journey to get a better idea of how Toastmasters International Pathways works.
Kirsten is a teacher. She wants to improve her presentation skills and the connection she has with her students. She chooses the Presentation Mastery path.
In Level 1 (Mastering Fundamentals), she learns about writing a speech with purpose, vocal variety, and body language.
In Level 2 (Learning Your Style), Kirsten gets further training related to body language and gets a handle on her own communication style. She also gets an introduction to Toastmasters mentoring, which is a Level 2 project in each path.
In Level 3 (Increasing Knowledge), Kirsten receives instruction related to persuasive speaking. From a list of 14 elective projects, she chooses two: Connect With Storytelling and Using Descriptive Language.
In Level 4 (Building Skills), she learns how to manage a difficult audience. From a list of seven elective projects, she chooses one: Question-and-Answer Session.
In Level 5 (Demonstrating Expertise), Kirsten chooses one elective project—High-Performance Leadership—from a list of five. Drawing on all that she’s learned, she delivers an extended speech that she’s prepared and practiced using the free AI-powered speech coach from Yoodli, a Toastmasters partner. With Yoodli, she gets private, personalized and judgement free feedback on her public speaking. She can track her filler words, eye contact, pacing, word choice, body language, and much else!
Each club has a Base Camp manager who tracks your progress.
When you complete a level, you receive recognition in the form of a digital badge and certificate. When you complete a path, you’re recognized as “Proficient” in that expertise.
Upon completion of Level 3, 4, or 5, you may ask Toastmasters to send a letter to your employer to notify them of your achievement.
If you complete two learning paths, you’ve met one of the requirements to become a Distinguished Toastmaster.
The skills you can develop through Toastmasters International Pathways will set you apart—and put you ahead—in the workplace and job market. Toastmasters is more than clubs, and Pathways is another big reason why becoming a Toastmaster is worth it.
Getting better at speaking is getting easier. Record or upload a speech and let our AI Speech Coach analyze your speaking and give you feedback.