Beginnings, endings and, again, beginnings…

Last Thursday 7th June was an evening of beginnings, endings and new beginnings… from the “speeches” point of view!

Scott Kavanagh did an “icebreaker” from the Pathways series he’s just started (“Innovative Planning”). With the title “Worry” he talked about the fact he is a “natural born worrier” and about the elements which create worries in his life. He believes they have negative effects, but they can also have some positive ones.

He remembers an episode when he was learning to swim as a kid: they told him to go deeper, and he panicked because he didn’t understand the swimming pool was knee-deep.

Considering how he worries so much, he has been doing the “right” job for 10 years… that is the investor risk, which in short means “to worry on behalf of your client”.

Also, having a family with 3 kids means he will worry for his entire life.

To try to relax, he has recently started again an old hobby of his, that is painting miniatures; he is an avid reader, as well.

Public speaking is not easy, too, of course, but as he mentioned at the beginning, facing this will have a positive effect because he’ll help him to transform a worry into a strength.

Dan Haycraft, on the contrary, with “How you should do it” reached his tenth and final speech from the classic “Competent Communication” manual: he talked about how he was able to reach this result, that is finding, carefully choosing and matching the right heroes.

The first example he gives is “Chuck” Yeager, the pilot who beat for the first time the speed of sound. Everybody thought he wouldn’t have been able to make it, and two days before the event, he even broke two ribs. He didn’t reveal it to anyone, he was helped in closing the hatch of the plane, he was able to overcome any difficulties and break that record. After that moment, he could beat other records.

Like him, Dan took that attitude whenever he had to overcome some difficulties.

Another hero who inspired him was General Robert Lee. He was a soldier, and when the war broke, he had to face a hard choice: to stay faithful to the United States or to the state of Virginia? He chose Virginia. Then, he was defeated, he accepted it and after the war, he was very supportive to the reconciliation between North and South.

This attitude, too, helped him a lot, especially after the devastations caused by hurricane Katrina: he decided to be strong both physically and socially.

He states he didn’t prepare that speech to inspire anyone, but simply to suggest everybody should choose carefully their personal heroes. In doing so, they may lose in some situations, but in other situations they will certainly win more times than they think.

Finally, our most experienced John Wood introduced us with “It’s only Words” to the “Entertaining Speech”, from “The Entertaining Speaker” series of the Pathways program.

Telling a small, personal anecdote John starts to give examples of different types of “peculiar” words… words he noted in his “vocabulary notebook”, a habit he took when he was a boy train-spotter.

One of his current highlights is when the Oxford Dictionary lists the new neologisms, both the portmanteau words and the terms whose meanings have been “rebooted”. Even the “Washington Post” is taking some interest in this last aspect: in fact, they run an annual competition where the readers are asked to provide an alternative meaning to existing words.

Finally, a type of words which amuses him a lot are the definitions describing social groups, like the recent “gammon”, but what strikes him the most is realizing that the number of new neologisms appearing every year is almost as much the same amount of the vocabulary spoken by an average person.

In short, a great evening which makes us look forward to what we may be able to hear at our next meeting, on Thursday 21st June.


IceBreakers – Traditional and Pathways

At the 26th April meeting, we had two different types of “icebreaker” which helped us to get introduced to and know a little better two of our members.

First, Kevin Dickson, with his “Changes”, delivered his speech from the Competent Communication Manual, whose objectives are “Speak before an audience; use existing speaking skills; introduce oneself to fellow club members”.

His was a classic piece: Kevin started telling how he worked as a paperboy when he was 10 years old, and how that job in the UK was different compared to the idea we have when we see it in the US movies. Then, he described how he spent a lot of time outside with his friends. He grew up and continued to study; he went to Aberdeen for his Masters in Psychology; he did different types of jobs to support himself during that period; he moved back to Edinburgh where he started working for the NHS -a full life, where “change” was a constant element of it.

In the past he never had a chance to study or attend courses in public speaking and leadership, and now he wants to change that situation. That is why he chose to be here and take some risks learning new things, instead of staying safely at home.

The highly-experienced Moira Beaton, after the numerous speeches she has delivered, has started the new Pathways program, and she delivered her icebreaker speech, in the “Presentation Mastery” program, entitled “Risk!!”. In this case, the objectives are: “Deliver a speech on any topic as an introduction to the club using any style that appeals”.

She remembered how she delivered her first speech in 2004 only after 6 weeks she attended the club, and she was nervous because she didn’t know what they would think of her after hearing what she had to say. She looked back at her evaluation written in her original CC manual, and noticed she was described as a “risk-taker”.

Maybe it was because, when she was very young, she left for Syria travelling in a car with a husband, a dog and everything they had. It was the beginning of a very intense period: in October 1973 she didn’t leave Damascus when the Yom Kippur war broke out; in 1974 she went to the Saudi Arabian desert and was stung twice by scorpions, then she moved to Oman and moved again, to Cyprus with her husband and two children,2 years after the Cyprus invasion; there, she ran a hospital and a restaurant. Twenty-five years after she left Scotland, she returned to the UK, and she started to study again, this time law in Glasgow.

After that first speech in 2004, she did many other things and now she wonders where this new icebreaker will lead her – maybe to other 14 years of Toastmasters?

Post written by Omar Martini, Waverley Communicators

PATHWAYS – How To Get Started

Pathways Learning Paths


On Tuesday, 20th March, members will receive an email from Toastmasters International (TI) with a link to access PATHWAYS, TI’s new education system.

If you can’t wait to get started and want access to Basecamp, you will need to select a Path. (The exception is the Basecamp Manager who will have access before choosing their Path).

How To Get Started

Either follow the link in TI’s email or login to, go to ‘Pathways’ then ‘Access my path through basecamp’.

Click on ‘Continue to path selection’ . You can opt for online or print delivery. If you opt for online delivery, you must complete the assessment before choosing your first Path (no need to complete the assessment for subsequent Paths unless you want to). Please note: Members who opt for print materials do not take the assessment and are instead taken to a web page where they can select from five Paths).

The Assessment

The assessment consists of 30 questions and takes about 5-10 minutes to complete. Make sure you have a designated time for this because if you are interrupted in the middle of it you will be timed out after 30 minutes and have to start again. The assessment results are not stored.

When you complete the assessment, you will have suggestions for 3 Paths (closest match and 2 other top matches) based on your “needs, interests and current goals” (TI). But, you don’t have to choose one of those if you don’t want to, you can explore the other 7 Paths before making a final decision.

Access To Basecamp

Now that you have chosen your path, you will have access to Basecamp. If you have any questions, please contact your Vice President Education (VPE).

Post written by Moira Beaton

Pathways Guide District 71







PATHWAYS – Toastmasters New Education Programme

Coming soon!

On 20th March 2018, PATHWAYS will roll out in our District (71). Current members will be able to stay on the traditional education path as well as enrol on PATHWAYS. You don’t have to choose, you can do both.

Look at this short video for an overview of what’s in store.