By Steven Timmons, DTM

Have you engaged in Pathways? If not, then this article has important information for you to consider.

A definition of engage as a verb is

1. Occupy, attract, or involve (someone’s interest or attention).
2. Participate or become involved in.

Follow me as I discuss engagement. As the Toastmasters year winds down, your chance to engage is almost up since on July 1st, Pathways is King.

I get it… change is difficult and never fun. However, change in today’s world is a constant rather than an exception (COVID 19 anyone?). For the most part it is great! Because of technology, we have seen things that even 100 years ago some people would never have considered in their wildest dreams. We have choices available and excellent opportunities develop literally right before our eyes.

Pathways, believe it or not, is one of those opportunities.
The key phrase from the definition above is “involve (someone’s interest or attention).” This is where I want to focus. Let me share with you a little story…

From time to time, I have been asked as an evaluator to give the speaker everything that I can throw at them and to be brutally honest. I have shared with them that this is a very bad idea because others are always watching. I am glad to share with them any additional feedback to help them out.

If you have been in Toastmasters for a moment or more, then you are very likely viewed as a leader because you have been around for a while. You are being watched and are an influence on others particularly newer members.

Your refusal to engage in Pathways can have unintended consequences. Do you really want to steal the excellent opportunity that Pathways can represent from even one person? Others may be looking for a reason to opt out of Pathways and by default to opt out of Toastmasters. Are you going to hand them that excuse?

Don’t believe me? I have met several individuals that have an education title of CTM or ATM. I have been in Toastmasters for almost ten years and those titles were never available to me. Those are the titles that my mother earned many years ago. In all these years, those individuals have not recorded ten speeches to update to the title of Competent Communicator (CC) or above. That was certainly their prerogative.

That is where we are with the current transition of this new program. New members for over a year do not have the opportunity to earn a CC or CL. It is already gone for them. Starting June 30th, nobody will be able to add any of the alphabet soup to their titles. These are merely the facts.

If you choose to stay in Toastmasters and do not choose to engage in Pathways, you are still setting an example. You are leading the way or rather leading away members from properly engaging in the learning opportunities that have been afforded them as part of being in the Toastmasters’ education program.

It is important that you embrace your opportunity to lead. It is crucial that you seize your opportunity to further your own learning. It is critical that you ENGAGE!