The ‘Lang Scots Mile’

Our Pathway program started some months ago, and many of our members have had already the chance to try it. In order to provide some interesting insight on what this change has meant, we contacted some of those people who started in the Competent Communicator classic manual, and did the transition to the new program, to ask their impressions in this change.

The first one to answer was Neil MacLure, ACB, CL, who sent the following thoughts…


“From the public speaking perspective, there are two important lessons incorporated in Pathways which, at best, only got lip service in the traditional program.


The first is how to give and receive evaluations properly.

This not only gives some practical advice and actual practice in evaluating a fellow toastmaster, but also enables to develop a critical ear for structure and delivery which, in turn, helps in crafting one’s own speech projects.


The second important lesson in Pathways you don’t find in the traditional program is an appreciation of the benefits of mentoring.

Unfortunately, up until now, education on the befits of mentoring has been patchy – to the extent that even some “experienced” members have missed the opportunity to be better speakers because they think it’s best to do it themselves and don’t need mentoring.

On the other hand, all the Toastmasters I’ve known who became excellent speakers willingly accepted mentoring… without exception.


The other major difference is in the much wider variety of projects offered by Pathways.

In the traditional program, the new member was required to do all ten projects of the “Competent Communicator” series before being allowed to embark on anything of special interest, such as humorously speaking or storytelling. That could take two years – if they stayed the course. Furthermore, if the member really wanted to solve a personal issue, such as leading a team at work, they’d have to wait a long time to get a chance of the necessary experience… and then only if they were prepared to join a club committee and be elected to a senior role.

In Pathways the member can choose right from the outset which projects, including leadership projects, will be most helpful to them and of most interest. This is much more time efficient for the member.


In summary, my view is that Pathways wins over the traditional program by a ‘Lang Scots Mile’.”

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