Are you looking for that essential ‘guide on the side’? A tool that will help you unravel all the mystique of your Pathways Experience, and lead you to a new confidence level in learning online.
Perhaps you’re an independent learner and you want to master your online learning for yourself. Or you are VP Education looking for tools that will help you to guide a new member through Pathways. Then this new Learner Guide will be ideal for you.
This Learner Guide (Edition 1) is in draft mode throughout March and you are invited to take a sneak peak and give some feedback to the developers at D73 Team Pathways.
Here we uncover the basics for Preparing your Computer, Preparing yourself for Online Learning and taking easy steps in Base Camp. The Learner Guide is sprinkled with Tips on how to help yourself when you are stuck. Later editions will include a Help Desk for Base Camp Managers and Video Tutorials for just-in-time training.
Ten Steps for walking the Path
Advice for those new members at beginner level or those just starting on Pathways:
Know your goals for short and long term
Choose a Path to match your goals
Review introductory material in the online New Navigator or print version and get familiar with the Toastmasters.org website
Request a mentor or seek help from others
Prepare your computer or order Printed Path
Prepare yourself and time for learning – master the navigation in Base Camp and access curriculum and learning materials for your Projects
Attend meetings and participate
Join discussion groups for social collaborative learning (preferably club based)
Plan, prepare, request and deliver speeches
Focus on self improvement strategies given as feedback from your Evaluator
Annual Pathways Achievements: comparisons in your District
Okay things are ramping up a little at your club and more of your long time members are getting into their Pathways projects! Congratulations that means that something is working well in your Pathways implementation strategies. You are also experiencing an upsurge of new members who are eagerly jumping into their Path too. Wow, you are on a roll!
How do I know this? I took some statistics from the George Marshall’s Tools site here and filtered to show Pathways Level completions for the current year for my District 73. Results showed 170 level completions for this year – way to go D73. I filtered the results further to show the clubs in alphabetic order and discovered some outstanding results for several clubs in Central and Metropolitan Divisions. It was also great to see several achievements for clubs in our regional locations.
Note: I need to tell my own clubs about this! Perhaps my Area Director will want to know these details before the end of November!
You can also used the Dashboards Toastmasters website to locate, filter and display ALL awards earned by your club members. This report can be further filtered by name of member, club name or division or area name.
Note: some names are not displayed here as members have chosen to hide them for privacy reasons. If you need an explanation of the Education Awards you can access here.
Impact for your Distinguished Club Program
Have you presented the DCP facts for Pathways for your club members? Let them know that as the club members complete their levels they can help their club accumulate points towards being a distinguished club.
For instance to earn Pathways points for achievements, a club needs 4 level one completions, 2 level two completions, (can earn an extra point for 2 more level two completions) 2 level three completions, 1 level four completion and 1 level five completion. To find out exactly how your club is tracking on DCP points go to http://dashboards.toastmasters.org and use the filtering tools to display results for your district, division, area or club.
I was curious about the Online Clubs and how they were tracking, so I used the filters to obtain these results:
VPE Drills down to access Individual Progress in Pathways!
Now let’s get to the next exciting part of exploring your club Pathways progress – one individual Toastmaster at a time.
As a Base Camp Manager you can login to Base Camp in Pathways and explore the progress for individuals – gaining access to their Transcripts. This is achieved by selecting the Member Progress icon from your BCM landing page.
Note: make sure that you choose the Home Club you are exploring if you have access to more than one club.
From here you can search for the member’s name in the search box and then select the Transcript to view.
Once you have clicked on the Transcript for your member you will see the Path in the Transcript. Click the title of the Path to view a full list of the projects with a display of those completed and in progress.
When you plan for a trip away, these are the usual steps you take:
know your destination
collect your tickets
add to your Trip Plan
Can you successfully plan ahead for your Projects?
When you get deeper into Pathways you will need to plan ahead! There are usually 10-11 required projects and 3 electives to complete – a total of 14 to 15 speeches.
Know your Destination:
Depending on your goal, you may be considering the delivery of at least 2 speeches per month per club. Your projects are mapped out for you in your Transcript (click on the Path title to see them all) and you will need to know which ones are required and which ones are electives.
Collect your Tickets:
At levels 3, 4 and 5 your choice of electives provide a wide array of tasks and goals to improve your skills in speaking and leading. Keep in mind that the speeches are the culmination of your learning in each elective project, and that there may be more than one speech required. Choose those electives that best support and complement your goals.
Include in your folders the downloadable project resources for each level. eg Launch your project, go to the Evaluations page and collect the resources from that page. You’ll need a copy of the project itself; the evaluation resources and any other
Add to your Trip Plan:
Consult your diary or calendar and map out the dates you have available for:
a) planning your project
b) preparing your speech
c) delivering your speech.
Collaborate with your VP Education and request your speeches at each club in a timely way. Allow sufficient time to repeat the speech if you wish to work on incorporating the feedback soon after.
Note: if you are in multiple clubs, plan to be courteous and offer a level completion for their Distinguished Club Program (DCP) points in return for opportunities to deliver a speech.
Is that all?
Nope! The final thing to do is ‘check everything’!
Have you informed your VP Education when you want to deliver a speech?
(check speech schedules in your club management system)
Have you collected all downloadable files from your project?
(check Transcript in Base Camp and match with files in folders)
Have you incorporated all new learning into your project speech(s)?
(review Online Classes in Base Camp and prepare a speech outline)
Have you outlined your speech to match the purpose statement on the Evaluation Resource?
(check Evaluation Resources from Evaluations in Base Camp and let your Evaluator know what you’d like feedback on)
Finally, set aside some time after your speech delivery to return to your Transcript and complete the Assess Skills After in the Project.
Note: The Assess Your Skills After triggers the next project to become available.
Note: At the end of a level, once again, return to Transcript and complete the steps for Level Completion.
Preparing for the D73 Club Leadership Training workshop this week, I was reminded that for many of the members in our district, their steps into Pathways have been tentative. Our region 12 rolled out Pathways in December 2017 and as our clubs started up again after our summer holidays, we have had only 9 months to focus on Pathways.
Almost 48% adoption rate in June after just six months was a reasonable result across a Region. I suspect that in nine months District 73 would have reached over 50% adoption rate across our Divisions.
Clubs are tracking reasonably well in the completion of levels and the list of awards for various Paths and this will continue to increase as we integrate Pathways effectively. There appears to be pockets of leadership in those clubs where there has been specific focus on getting members involved and where they have a few ‘early adopters’ as champions to mentor them.
How are the clubs in your District progressing in their selected Paths?
As new and existing Toastmasters take up the challenge to select a Path and begin their journey into Levels 1 and 2, there are frequent requests for help. Recently I polled the membership for some ideas on what they wanted most to help them get started and gain momentum in their projects.
These are the top choices from our D73 Toastmasters:
Where to go to find help
How to plan speeches ahead of time
How to see all projects in your Path
How to complete a project level
Where to go to find help!
The first group needs to address are the New Members. You will need a New Member Pathways Kit! What should we include in this? Various ideas are being explored in our clubs and these three components are gaining in popularity:
Club Brochure – including details of meeting venue and dates; meeting roles and an overview of educational Paths available.
Navigator – copies of Pages 9 – 15 to provided a deeper description of the Toastmasters Pathways experience
Application to join – a customized form, provides a new Toastmaster with the costs involved.
The second group needs to address are the Existing Members during the Transition phase. You will need a Pathways Program Success Pack! What would you include in this? In my opinion these are the basic tools for members who want to see the requirements of each level in one page. The following ‘guides’ are perfect for your self-directed learners:
Therefore the answer to the question, ‘where to go find help’ is utilise the D73 Website and develop your own New Member Pathways Kit and the Pathways Program Success Pack.
Our latest method of providing help across our clubs in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, is the D73 Team Pathways. We are continuing to explore methods of providing help to individuals and clubs. You will find our help pages in the Online Education segment.
How to plan speeches ahead of time?
In the traditional program we were able to view all projects in our printed manuals and plan ahead for the speeches we wanted to deliver. In Pathways, once you have completed one Path, you have a fair idea of what is coming up in each level of your next Path. To help plan ahead use the full descriptions of projects displayed in the shared interactive documents accessible from many different District websites. For example try accessing details of each project in your Path from the D73 Pathways pages.
How to see all projects in your Path?
Here’s how to do that from your Transcript in Base Camp! Select the title of the Path instead of the Open Curriculum icon. You will then see all projects and note those you’ve completed! Here’s mine from one Path.
This is a great tool to keep you on track, and having it available in your Transcript means that you can plan ahead.
How to complete a project level!
This has proven to be the biggest obstacle for beginner users of Base Camp – there are some unfriendly aspects of the way the Learning Management System (LMS) operates for Pathways. Cornerstone-on-Demand (LMS) has some ‘painpoints’ that cause frustrations and prevent the novice user from moving forward with confidence.
Note: once the user understands the need to locate the popup window for the Online Class and complete the Assess Your Skills After, they can move ahead easily!
There are Video Tutorials available in the library at Base Camp to help with this process. However, many have asked for separate short video tutorials to be made available outside of Base Camp. This has lead to a plethora of ‘home grown’ video resources from many Districts.
This Microsoft tool has become a clear winner for me in preparing my speeches and tutorials for Pathways.
With a deck of slides, containing imagery that suits my message, I can create an environment for my speech that will appeal to viewers in online clubs. I share these slides in full view with attendees in a Zoom room meeting – either right from the start of my speech or coming in at a later point to clarify or give examples. I like to add interesting graphics that have eye candy and structure to support my message.
With a deck of slides, containing step by step process with screen captures from Base Camp, I can provide a meaningful tutorial. I have a selection of these stored at Slideshare.com especially structured for my work as a Guide. I am now revisiting these and selecting the best for voiceovers to create short tutorial videos. I can do these quite quickly now with a simple script and showcasing the slides in my Zoom room as I record a private session.
(Note: to upload slides to Slideshare.net you need to create an account with them and upload your .ppt or .pptx files to your playlist. I have heard that Slideshare.net may be in a state of change and I await its fate with bated breath.)
PowerPoint also enables me to construct diagrams and flow charts that provide visual representation of a process or strategy, relevant to Pathways.
If you are new to PowerPoint you can learn much more about its functionality and the new tools embedded within. One of my favourite online learning libraries for technology is GCF Global Free Tutorials Online.
If you wish to store your PowerPoint slide decks ready for sharing and downloading by others, you can use Slideshare.net (operated by LinkedIn). This repository has a powerful search engine for locating specific sets of slides. Like this one I found today by Barbara Lowe – the content of the Presentation Mastery Path in slide format. Many more like this to help you ‘present’ to your club members about specific Paths or to enable them to plan ahead.
‘Keep the end in mind’ – wise words from Chew Ban Seng in his recent blog and presentation about what Pathways meant for him. He talks about the obstacles and the weaknesses of the new Pathways program and how he overcame them to become the first Toastmaster to earn the Pathways Distinguished Toastmasters award. Others have since followed on, but he remains the first.
Today I reviewed the video of the three speakers who presented in the Toastmasters in the Digital Age segment of the Expert Speakers at the D51 Convention in April 2018.
There was new learning for me from each of the three speakers:
But what resonated most for me in the third speech “Pathways: 2 Biggest Obstacles and 1 Biggest Weakness” were the fundamental raw truths that were shared.
There is a flaw in the instructional design of the Pathways system – the underlying assumption that learning online needs to be sequential and controlled in a lock step manner.
Read that statement again! Do you agree? We need to be able to ‘see ahead’ and ‘plan ahead’ and we deserve an exemplary blended learning approach to our continuing Toastmasters Journey.
There is a flaw in the Pathways experience – a missing opportunity for collaborative and cooperative learning.
Read that statement again! Do you know what I mean? We need to feel part of a community all learning together and sharing our experiences. Online Learning Communities are required. When they are not offered by the learning institute, they occur naturally among the learners.
Phew! Now that I have that off my chest I can proceed with the rest of this blog from Mars!
Why the title, Blogging from Mars?
At the Ablaze Online Toastmasters meeting this morning the theme was ‘Blogs from the Internet’. One of the Table Topics questions was “You are a blogger living on Mars, what would you post about in your blog to earthlings?” I so wished I had been asked that question! Would I be writing about the things I can see from such a great distance and the folly of mankind? Would I choose to bring enlightenment about Mars to Earth? Or, would I choose to go for the raw truth?
As an instructional designer in my former days in adult education in Australia, it was fundamental, in designing any online or blended course, to keep the needs of the learner firmly in mind. Students need immediate support and relevant resources to self-manage their online learning, right from the beginning of their navigation in a learning management system. They needed opportunities for collaborative and cooperative learning within their online spaces – a place to discuss the difficulties they were facing or to share their achievements. And they needed tutors and mentors to assist their development. A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) was very attractive for a free learning experience and had its hay day back in 2012 – MOOCs emerged (in various styles and purposes) as a popular mode of learning.
Toastmasters need immediate support and relevant resources, to self-manage their navigation of Pathways. Toastmasters need to know ‘how’ they will benefit from the projects in the course or Path. Toastmasters need community around their online learning as well as in their clubs. Yes, there is a plethora of support within your Path, but not presented in a way that makes sense to all new learners online. We need a MOOC!
There is a missing piece – an ongoing Learning Guide (documentation, people and forums) – a MOOC is the answer to that!
Toastmasters need to feel inspired by the Education program provided for them as they pay their dues on entry to a club. Toastmasters are looking for value for money, especially in this competitive arena where many local and online clubs are vying for their membership. Toastmasters need clear instructions on what to do in their online learning space, and they need to feel empowered by the experience of learning this way. Toastmasters need to be able to put their learning in place in their speaking and leadership roles in club meetings. This is the reason they attend and join a club!
The Pathways disruptive innovation process has caused unrest among the Toastmasters. There is confusion and dissatisfaction with the new – this is being expressed in all clubs and across the wider international family of Toastmasters. Social media is running rampant with questions, answers, theories, suggestions and discussion.
Toastmasters need their own MOOC!
The Toastmasters network is busily making sense of the new terrain and gathering their knowledge – to share with others. We have Pathways Guides still supporting people in their Areas; we have Online Pathways Guides helping their assigned clubs in District U; we have new club executives stepping up to new roles as Base Camp Managers and we have Districts putting teams of Pathways support in place.
(See previous post about ways to build a Team Pathways in your camp.)
But where can we engage with our international peers in discussion forums for our collaborative and cooperative learning experiences?
There are several social media spaces where discussions are happening about all things Toastmasters. I belong to several of them. Its in these spaces where much learning is gained from my peers. However, the forums dedicated to Pathways are the MOOCs we can access today!
Yes it provides discussion (in spades); yes it provides collaborative learning (in diamonds); and yes it provides cooperative learning in its simple Mentorship program (its new heart). This program offers you opportunities for stretching your mentoring skills outside your club and outside your country.
This forum is adding value to the learning journey for our International Toastmasters as Facebook group members. We are a community, striving to provide a massive open online connection (not really a course), although we have recently added some learning units to make the job of finding resources easier. Membership is over 6,600 and growing with over 300 waiting for approval.
(Note: please answer the entrance questions as you request to join the group.)
Toastmasters want Pathways support and hundreds have eagerly signed up as a Mentor or Protege in the forum. Together we have matched up over 200 pairs of Toastmasters who all need help with Pathways – the process is simple and effective.
If you want to sign up to be a Mentor for an international Protege, and if you want to experience more about cooperative learning, then this is the place for you.
As a Mentor for a Protege I recently learned the value of a consistent, five week model of communication in which both of us learned and grew a little more!
Meeting Carole [McCulloch] has been one of the greatest ‘happenings’ I’ve had in my relatively short Toastmasters journey. Within the 5-week direct mentoring program, she was able to get me to focus on, visualize, and put into action what will be the next phase of how I will be supporting the Toastmasters educational program (building Pathways support teams). In this time, I came to better realize my value in the program and the skills I have that are needed by others. Very quick, very articulate. I encourage others to reach out to Carole. You won’t be disappointed. -John McDonald, (soon-to-be) DTM
Online Clubs first emerged in March 2016 and since then we have seen a total of 19 clubs chartered. We have a few community clubs, a sprinkling of corporate clubs and a group of advanced clubs – all meeting 100% online with their members on a regular basis. There are substantial numbers of Toastmasters involved with Online Clubs; either as visitors, guests, members and leaders.
This was the description of 100% online clubs from WHQ in 2016!
How many Online Clubs have chartered since then?
Here is the latest from the Dashboards at Toastmasters.org. Imagine my surprise when I noted another new club just chartered on May 24, 2018 – DJ & MC Toastmasters. The count is now 19 chartered clubs with an overall membership of 1,017 Toastmasters.
Noted in the details above are those Online Clubs who have succeeded in reaching Distinguished Club, Select Distinguished Club, and Presidents Distinguished club status. Congratulations to all.
There are several Prospective Online Clubs still waiting in the wings – striving to reach charter membership requirements. Three of these are very close to becoming chartered: Ablaze Online, Diversity Toastmasters Online and Witty Birds Online.
Of course there may be others entering the Online Club environment and we hope to hear from their leaders soon.
Where can I find current Online Club details?
Here is the line up of clubs currently displayed at Find-A-Club, with their meeting times, specialties and prerequisites. Visit Toastmasters.org and select the Find-a-Club icon. Then select Find Online Clubs.
Note: this does not include all chartered clubs at this stage – display still to be updated by TI.
Critical Questions from Leaders building Online Clubs?
Leaders who are contemplating the establishment of an Online Club will benefit from considering this set of critical questions that others have asked themselves:
Who to build the club for
What time zone will be the basis for meetings
How to choose effective web conferencing tools
How to define meeting styles
What promotional tools to use for recruitment
Which club management tools to choose
Which websites to use for ease of access
What skills are required of online executive teams
What types of meeting roles are required
How to maximise success by collaborating among online clubs
How to do what seems impossible
Biggest joys for me, from being part of the Online Clubs development for two years, include:
the benefits of attending Toastmasters from computer or mobile device wherever I may be
watching and supporting those who have stepped up to create new online clubs
bringing new perspectives to my Toastmasters journey as I follow their lead
seeing what can be achieved online – going beyond perceived barriers
I was invited to be part of a radio interview recently, to explain the rise of popularity of Online Clubs and to talk about the benefits of belonging to online clubs, the differences of experiencing Online Toastmaster meeting and the challenges of support for online clubs. The radio station was Coast.FM situated in Adelaide, South Australia. I was happy to report on the benefits of belonging; the differences at online meetings and the challenges experienced.
Benefits of belonging to Online Clubs
Toastmasters who are already embracing online club membership will tell you that the experiences have helped them to develop their skills to another level among an international audience.
Attendance online is easier – no travel required, no need to leave the home in bad weather, no restrictions for differently abled people
Performing meeting roles at an online club is challenging – builds networks, builds skills for screen presence, builds confidence in presenting for webinars and online meetings
Being a member of an online club – stretches your personal learning network, enables immersion in wider cultural environments, and provides greater connectivity between meetings
Note: For me, I really like how the communications between members of Online Clubs between meetings, generates another method of ‘connection’ with fellow club members. It far exceeds the amount of communication between my fellow land-based club members. It has increased my Personal Learning Networks and enabled a huge growth of experience and confidence.
Differences at an Online Meeting
Best way to find out about what is differeent at an online club meeting, is to visit an Online Club in a time zone that suits you and experience them for yourself. These are some of the typical differences you will notice immediately:
You are seen and heard in small video windows within the meeting software and you become more focussed on the speakers – up close and personal.
Mostly you will be seated and displaying head and shoulders only.
Your background becomes a focal point and one to pay attention to improving to avoid distractions.
Meetings will usually begin with some networking that everyone can share, and there is need for an interval or a break time to chat with others.
Different roles are required to help with initial networking and tech checks, providing feedback on screen presence and keeping track of the chat texting.
The Toastmaster is the host and has control over the muting and unmuting of microphones.
Everyone has equal opportunity to share screens for display of websites or presentation sides.
The Timer needs to be innovative with timing devices and to provide audible sounds when required.
Note: For me, I find increased value in performing my meeting roles in online clubs as it enables my innovation to shine with a brighter light.
Challenges for Online Clubs
Currently all Online Clubs are categorised as Undistricted – with no supportive structure for Program Quality and Club Growth. There are no Area Directors, Division or District Directors keeping everything on track. There are no official Area Contests or the ability to proceed to District contests except through the Video Tape Contest. There are no District level Publicity Managers or Finance Managers – each online club manages their own publicity and finances. We are working on that support by encouraging leaders and members from all online clubs to join the Facebook group – Online Alliance.
One major challenge has been the need for inter club leadership training that will provide greater networking between executive teams from a variety of online clubs. The training that is provided is scheduled from within the club. Online clubs are exempt from earning DCP points for training unless the executives can attend training in their land based districts. We are discussing the potentials for online training at this Facebook group – Online Training for Toastmasters.
Recognition among the Toastmasters community as clubs of equal value is still an ongoing challenge – there are still many Toastmasters who are not in favour of Online Clubs membership. On the other hand there are still many Toastmasters who are not yet aware of online club membership. We are working towards correcting that perspective by encouraging Toastmasters to visit the very active Facebook group – Online Toastmasters Resources.
Note: For me these are the challenges that provide the ‘spur’ for greater innovation as we create solutions to these issues.
Recent benefits from Online Club Meetings?
A recent project for me was to talk about the experiences of being in an Online Club, during an interview on the radio. This fitted ideally into my Pathways projects planning and I accepted eagerly. The process and preparation for this event was all contained in one email from the presenter.
These were the questions that I answered at that radio interview, hosted at Coast.FM, Close Encounters of the Community Kind on May 14:
Tell us about the online clubs
How did online clubs begin?
Why did they begin?
Were online clubs accepted by Toastmasters International immediately?
What process occurred before acceptance of these virtual clubs?
What benefits have you seen of virtual clubs?
Are there any other places in Toastmasters where technology is being used to close the gap?
I was able to relay that information to the Coast.FM listeners and to cement my own convictions about the real benefits of Online Clubs.
My next step was to schedule a speech, for delivery at an Online Club; to explore the benefits of promoting Online Clubs in different media. A bit like an interview about an interview.
I wanted to complete the Elective project from my Strategic Relationships Path and put another spin on this by choosing to deliver the speech as an interviewee at one of my online clubs, Ablaze Online.
This is how I structured a set of questions for my interviewer:
Q.1 What attracted you to a radio interview about Online Toastmasters?
Q.2 How did you get involved with a Radio Interview recently?
Q.3 What advice were you given prior to the interview?
Q.4 What were the benefits of online clubs you promoted to the audience?
Q.5 What advice would you give for other Toastmasters who wish to promote online clubs on radio?
This project gave tons of scope for exploring radio interviews and those for the small screen. I did feel challenged, both in preparing for the radio interview and the questions from the Toastmaster at the online meeting. The thing that helped me the most was being able to structure my speech around a set of questions and to provide an authentic, off the cuff style, rather than a ‘canned’ speech.
This activity did pose some challenges for my Evaluator – it was new and different – however, I am pleased to say that the feedback was encouraging and uplifting.
Pathways has provided me with a renewed focus on participating in my online club meetings and a way of exploring new and challenging projects. It has made me think more deeply about the processes involved in:
choosing and Electives
completing the Project
scheduling the Speech
preparing the Evaluator
embedding the Feedback
repeating at another time at another club with a greater understanding of how to inspire.
Have you been challenged in your Toastmaster journey recently?
Did you ride the roller coaster of DOUBT? Doubt that you could RISE to the challenge?
International Pathways Guides Team Building
My recent challenge, as a leader among fellow International Toastmasters, was to build a collaborative team of voluntary champions. Their mission (should they choose to accept) was to support a selection of clubs from District U as they prepared for Pathways roll out scheduled for May 15. Each would perform similar duties to other Pathways Guides and Ambassadors who have been supporting clubs within their own districts.
The BIG DIFFERENCE was that everything would need to be done online – they would be expected to visit club meetings and provide support session virtually!
This seemed like a mission impossible – and I was filled with doubt – doubt that I could become a leader for this massive project involving over 160 clubs and doubt that we could recruit the required number of voluntary champions in time. I was on a roller coaster ride – reaching the top of one learning curve and then plunging into yet another learning curve. Imagine what sights you can see at the top of a roller coaster track filling you with awe and wonder, and then imagine that sudden drop with your heart in your mouth and your stomach contents doing flip flops, as you cascade down to the bottom of the next roller coaster track.
It was like that at the beginning of this ambitious High Performance Leadership project.
As soon as the ‘call to action’ was sent by George Marshall, I was jumping straight in, ready to ‘make a difference’. (Luckily there was nothing scary involved such as ‘this message will self-destruct in 30 seconds)!
I could see a perfect opportunity for the skilled online toastmasters in my Network. I could see them ‘at the top of their leadership journeys’ gaining the experiences and feeling the excitement of leading outside their comfort zone. The vision was enticing and I took the challenge to team up with George Marshall in D57 and recruit a Steering Committee. Momentum expanded in January this year and after meeting with our chosen Steering Committee, Michelle Alba-Lim and Mark Snow in February, we had high hopes for our success!
The four core values in Toastmasters enabled us to work toward fulfilling our mission. Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence are the core values of Toastmasters.
In Toastmasters we Respect each other – I had enormous respect for the talents and principles of my wide community of online Toastmasters. All we had to do was reach out and invite them to volunteer their time! Add to this growing networks of Pathways Guides with whom we had connected in our own communities online and we realized that we had a huge pool of voluntary champions from which to recruit. Our February task to find 32 talented online Pathways Guides. (We built in a fail safe clause for this part of the roller coaster ride – we needed 28 – and we knew that we may lose some.)
In Toastmasters we have Integrity. We do what we say we will do. That knowledge gave us the confidence to expect eager responses from our ‘expressions of interest’ to participate in the project. So many of our voluntary champions stepped up eagerly – they were eager to make a difference. (I had originally thought I would be ‘steering’ not ‘guiding’ then I needed to increase my own integrity – I stepped up as a Guide too. I needed to experience the same as other OPGs in order to support them effectively.)
In Toastmasters, we are here to give service to other members. Leadership is about how many people we can serve not how many people serve us. This core value was an ideal framework for such an ambitious project – an opportunity to demonstrate that it is all about how many lives benefit from the service we give. Toastmasters from Kenya to Karachi; from Rwanda to Russia; from Chile to Costa Rica; from Mauritius to Morocco and from Serbia to Slovenia – are showing gracious acceptance of our offers of support.
Toastmasters thrive for excellence! We give each other constructive feedback so we can be the best we can be. This project has provided further opportunities to support each other in a cooperative learning environment. I am so impressed with the way in which small teams have banded together to present Pathways Experience in different languages (French and Spanish translators have been in high demand). We have experienced a range of challenges, moving us outside our comfort zones. Some clubs are needing extra help for the process of reinstatement – others are brand new chartered clubs that need help in club management.
Personal challenges for me have included the assignment of clubs to the Online Pathways Guides based on:
time zone compatibility
balance of clubs per guide
This process took me on another roller coaster – juggling the various components to find a workable mix. Some of these assignments were turned on their head when our team membership reduced (due to ill health or conflict of interests). Reassignment requests were always met with enthusiastic agreement – even when this meant that one or two Online Pathways Guides had up to 8 clubs to serve.
This wonderful team of Online Pathways Guides has risen to every challenge – they are awesome Voluntary Champions.
I recommend close attention to details of our core values when you are challenged with a large international team leadership project. Use Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence as your framework to build your team of Voluntary Champions.
The path to the Palace of Zoom is paved with gold; the golden icons of desire. The people of my kingdoms are beginning to make this mysterious journey to a place they’ve never been before. They are seeking enlightenment and must find the golden icons to turn on the light. Come with them on their journey – their hunt for Zoom Gold.
There is fear and trepidation as you step off your familiar grounded world in Outland and venture into the strange places of the unknown. Time is needed for your confidence to grow. Adding a common goal for you all, will provide the fun element!
Here’s the plan! Harvest the golden icons as you navigate the path to Zoom Gate!
Travel to myLearning about Zoom page and locate the videos and tutorials to find the icons that will help you in reaching, testing and participating in Zoom sessions.
Travel to myVirtual Support Sessions page and locate the slides and recordings of the virtual support session already completed.Bring your findings to the next VSS and share their impact on your preparedness.
Travel to the nextVirtual Support Session and participate in a new experience of support training, education and networking online.
Now try some Cloud hopping and participate in other events; for instance the online Toastmasters Events from D91, and other special Pathways focused online events in your own district. If you are not yet using social media to expand your knowledge base, try adding your District Facebook group to your frequently visited places online. Events in Facebook provide a simple to use RSVP option and reminders are built in.
Expand your knowledge base, and keep current with the ‘latest’ developments in the realm of educational technology. One solution is ‘webinars’. These online seminars are time efficient, relevant, inexpensive [often free] and cutting edge [for the most part].
Continue as a Cloud Warrior!
Now that you have prepared yourself and your computer device; updated your schedule and you have participated in a Zoom session; settle in for the next two months as we explore the wonders of Base Camp and listen to the wisdom of the crowd, through virtual support sessions in my Zoom room.
Experience Toastmaster style learning workshops online. Let’s ramp this up a little and bring in the wisdom of this crowd – your wisdom and your experiences would be valued as ‘guest segments’ in my VSS.
Here’s an opportunity for you to contribute as a speaker, facilitator or impromptu speaker in a workshop designed for maximum interaction. What’s your specialty in Pathways; what new resources and ideas would you like to share with others in the workshop?
Take another huge leap of faith and consider Zoom workshops for your club training and executive meetings!
Do you want more information on setting up Zoom for yourself; how to run an online meeting in Zoom; and how to visit other clubs virtually in Zoom?
Challenge yourself now and consider how you could use Zoom to conduct your club’s educationals and other training on special days in the month, eg 5th Tuesdays etc. This strategy might just save time and space in your busy meeting agendas.
Challenge yourself again and consider how you could use Zoom to conduct your club’s executive meetings instead of travelling to a venue on a dark night on country roads. Certainly an appealing option in the cold winter months in Outland.
Challenge for the fearless explorers now hooked on Zoom, consider visiting an online Toastmasters club meeting in Zoom. Participate in an online meeting of one of the 17 Online Clubs, and use your new skills as an onliner.
View one of more of these posts elsewhere in this blog:
The Virtual Support Sessions for Base Camp Manager and other interested Toastmasters will continue into 2018. Events are scheduled in the Area 29 Facebook Group – you can RSVP there or send me an email to let me know you’ll be attending.
My brief is to provide a further 10 online webinars during January to March.
Welcome aboard BCMs from :
Albury Wodonga Toastmasters
Wagga Wagga Toastmasters
DSTO Melbourne Toastmasters
Ford Australia Club
Hume Toastmasters Club
Caterpillar of Australia
Essendon Toastmasters Club
Moonee Ponds Toastmasters Club
Base Camp Managers of my assigned clubs are welcome to request other sessions to suit their availability during these months. These can be specially modified to include demonstrations and explanations of any Pathways related procedures and can be used to invite other members of their clubs to attend.
Note: I have some time to offer VSS on demand for BCMs in January 2018, enquire within. Dates available include: 10, 12, 14, 17, 20. Times available are between 10 am and 6 pm.