Reflections on a Pathway

(by Dale Hartle DTM)

As the first Spinnaker member to complete an entire pathway, my final speech was to reflect on my journey through the path.

Here is a summary of my reflection speech and self-rating.

The goal of the Presentation Mastery Pathway is to help you build your skills as an accomplished public speaker. The projects on this path focus on learning how an audience responds to you and improving your connection with audience members. The projects contribute to developing an understanding of effective public speaking technique, including speech writing and speech delivery. (Toastmasters International)

For me, my journey on this pathway began on 8 March 2018 with an icebreaker, and ended in May 2021 with my reflection speech – a total of just over three years. During this time I completed 16 projects ranging in timings from 4-6 minutes to 25 minutes. Project resources included using powerpoint, visual aids, photographs, personal experiences, other club members in group activities, and some speeches were delivered online using Zoom.

Other club activities during the past three years have also included chairing and judging speech contests, being an evaluation contest test speaker, visiting other clubs, and various meeting roles.

During this time I also retired and moved towns but have retained my membership of Spinnaker as my favourite club.

As I completed each project in Pathways, I uploaded the agendas and evaluation forms and sometimes the speech notes to my e-portfolio in Basecamp, updated the meeting roles section with the dates I completed each meeting assignment, and collected a Certificate of Completion for each of the five levels.

My projects have covered a huge range of topics, including the following:

Life with twins
Recycling in Porirua
How to use Pathways
First man on the moon
Online etiquette in Zoom
The Mike Pence stare
Plimmerton Farm Development
s.s. Cheviot Shipwreck
Tracing your family history

The highlights or what I call my “angel moments” from my evalulators are:

Brilliant – Rob (on Recycling in Porirua)
Relaxed, conversational and enthusiastic – Darrell (on Pathways)
Innovative use of pictures – Kath (on Mike Pence)
Informative – Morne (on Communicating in Business)
Well structured and engaging – Kath (on being a Protégé)
Relaxed, engaging, interesting – Paul (on Shipwreck)
Excellent preparation – Simon (on online meetings)
Listened attentively – Kathy (on panel discussion)

However, some evaluators thought I could have done better, or changed how I did some things, what I call my “lightbulb moments”.

“Allow the audience to ask their own questions “ – Nina (on Life with Twins)
“Need stronger conclusion” – Kathy (on speech contest preparation)
“Could interact more with audience by moving lectern” – Kathy (on Plimmerton’s future)
“Try not to use notes” – Dave (on First Man on the Moon)
“Need more effective use of the camera online” – Johanna (on Family History)
“Pictures didn’t work too well online” – Paul (on Shipwreck)

So how did I do – what rating do I give myself for my Presentation Pathways journey? Remember the goals are to:

  • Build public speaking skills
  • Connect with the audience
  • Develop speech writing and delivery skills

Well, I give myself 8/10. I reckon there’s still room for improvement. Thinking about using notes, displaying images online, connecting and interacting with the audience are all really good points to explore and develop when I begin working on my next Path.

Evaluator Jacqui said that she loved the “angel” and “lightbulb” moments as a way of explaining what previous evaluators had said about my speeches, and that she didn’t realise what other work was involved in completing a pathway, but was “completely swept up with enthusiasm” to continue on her own path.

Thanks Toastmasters International for providing me with the opportunity and experience in the Presentation Mastery Pathway. The skills I have learnt so far will help me go forwards in my public speaking journey as I look forward to my next Path.