Dedicated to Change – Evaluations and Feedback Making a Difference

Dedicated to Change – Evaluations and Feedback Making a Difference

By Allan Pickering, DTM

Toastmasters is an organization dedicated to improvement and change.  How do I know?  Evaluations.  We bookend our meetings with speeches (test material – how we say and move) and evaluations (members review how our test material affected them).  We’ve ingrained in our club culture that those reviews are to be “positive and supportive” and we know they lead to “greater self-confidence and personal growth.”  Nothing remains unchanged in Toastmasters.  The newest member can observe something that the most seasoned Toastmaster will use to make their next presentation better.

Pathways can be changed

I knew it!  I said it!  In my various Pathways presentations as Ambassador and Guide, I said:  “We will get to change Pathways.  Going digital means we can change whenever we need to.”  Back then, it was pure conjecture.  My belief paid off.  Now we know that all of us “newbies” at Pathways can observe and report things to make Pathways better!  Announced officially in the December 2018 issue of the Leader Letter, Toastmasters International said they intend to make Pathways better.  A Summit Team (not to be confused with District 25’s wildly successful Summit event) has been created with the task to “[enhance] the Pathways user experience and learning journey.”  They’re going to do it!  Yay!

Providing pathways feedback

When you finish a Level, you have the chance to complete an evaluation for that level!  I have committed that I will fill out every Level evaluation when I complete the Level.  Similar to our written evaluation comments for a Level, we need to barrage this Summit Team with the things we want changed and improved.  I personally found the “Understanding Your Communication Style” project a bit thin and abstract.  I provided feedback and included suggestions to improve the project (yes, yes, I know, we don’t tell people how to improve in speech evaluations, but this is software and content, I’m taking license).

Those evaluations are gold to the Summit Team.  However, they are geared to the Project content, not Base Camp and the entire user experience of Pathways.  I ask you to commit to periodically evaluating the system itself:, Base Camp and the Project popup window.  Just like every speaker can learn something new from outside perspectives, any piece of software can be changed to make its user experience leaner and more intuitive.  But just like a speaker evaluation or the Level evaluations we’re going to do, when we observe and share insight on bugs, typos, and weird “why-does-it-make-me-do-that?” phenomena, we need to commit to being positive and supportive in our commentary.


Toastmasters is roughly the same age as the President we recently lost. George was lucky, blessed and healthy, that’s how he made it to 94.  The Toastmasters organization will make it to twice that age by doing what it has always done:  adapt and improve – just like its members.

Happy Pathways Evaluating!