Pathways: Zero to Hero


Pathways is the educational framework offered by Toastmasters International. Every member can choose from eleven paths as they work towards their personal growth. For new members, picking a path can be a bit daunting. I hope this article, sheds some light on how Pathways can help you in achieving your goals.

In a sense, the choice of path can be considered on a spectrum. On one hand, we have paths squarely focussed on Communication Skills. Examples include “Engaging Humor”, and “Presentation Mastery”. These are offered for members who just want to tell a ripping yarn and learn the skills in how to present well in any environment.

On the other end of the spectrum, are paths with a greater focus on Leadership Skills. Examples here include “Dynamic Leadership”, “Persuasive Influence” and “Team Collaboration”. These build on the communication skills to enable members to use them in business and everyday life when collaborating with others, building teams, and working towards shared goals. It’s often that we have to lean on our Communication Skills when things aren’t going well, such as when we have to resolve conflicts between team members, when we deliver bad news to a group, or when we have to handle a hostile audience.

In between are many paths which mix and match the five core competencies of Pathways to create a path blending both communication and leadership skills to meet the needs of a diverse membership.

Toastmasters International Resource 8077, “Paths and Core Competencies” shows how the paths are blended from these competencies, and gives an overview of what each path hopes to achieve for our members.

Paths and Projects

Each path is broken into levels one to five.  Level one focuses on the beginner and introduces the basic elements of public speaking.  Progressing through the levels of each path then takes a member into the core elements of each path as they work towards the level five projects.  These tend to be advanced uses of leadership and communication skills, such as hosting a panel discussion, managing a difficult audience, team building, or planning and executing a personal project.

Each pathway comprises several projects, with some projects required on some paths, and electives on others. The following matrix shows which projects are associated with each pathway, and at what level.

Pathways_Path_and_Project_Matrix_EN.pdf (2 downloads )

In addition, Toastmasters International Resource 8087, “Pathways Competencies by Path“, outlines in exacting detail what a member would hope to achieve by undertaking each project.

Help is at Hand

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a new jointer to Toastmasters, help is at hand. I share these resources in the hope that you can find a path to suit your needs.  If you need more assistance just ask your club Vice President of Education, or reach out to a fellow member and ask about their experience.