30 Jun 2017

Printed copy arrived!

For some reason the printed copies I ordered arrived only now, but you know what? They just arrived in time! I am going tomorrow to a Toastmasters Leadership Institute all day meeting in centre of London and I can take them with me. They really look very well! 

As soon as they arrived they did already give confidence. 

Patricia, who just finished last week her CC manual, was here and almost could not put them down when she begun to look inside. "I can do this!" she told me. "Yes, I like this evaluation." I felt, she would really like to have the manuals, read study and begin them, as soon as she can.

Even if we have to wait, till Pathways come to us, that is a lot of encouragement! 

As I read through it, and yes, there are easier to read bound nicely, then just printed page by page, even if two sided, I realised how much is explained about different ways to organise the speech about Research. Also, I heard, you can do inside a level, in the order you want. Well, after Icebreaker.

As the first two levels are almost same in any Path, it does not really matter then for the moment only 5 of the 10 path offer also printed copies. At least, not for the beginning, for these two. This I got, are for the Presentation Mastery, the first path I thought I would like to go through. It will be now my 3rd.

Very curious of the reaction of those who will see them, look at them tomorrow at TLI officer training. Toastmasters Leadership Institute I think is called. The training, open also for non officers, all from London and around is non specific to the roles. 

Will write tomorrow my post later, after I come back, and let you know. 

Yes, it was really worth buying them, even waiting for them. 
I would not give up the online path, but perhaps would like to buy also paper track of them. 

29 Jun 2017

Three first Levels of my Path

I never heard before this year "Triple Crown" expression. It is not an official Toastmasters award. I understand now, that it is given to those who got three awards in a year. Any award. I got 4 this year, but no one "gave" me anything else : I have given myself.

I have finished in December, last year my Advanced Communication Gold, without wanting to go farther. One D.T.M. after my name is enough. Two would have been ridiculous. In plus, of course, not many know what it means in the first place.

I was so happy we found a way to join GC in District 27 and begin, end March, our Pathways journey. Take the first step.

Let me look back on my first three Levels I finished, in the Visionary Communication Path.  In every path there are 5 levels, in this post I will write only about the first three I finished.

Level 1)  4 speech and an evaluation.
Icebreaker, a Speechthen another repeated after feedback, and the last one about a Research
Same for all Path.

I published my first level certificate of completion, not the other two.

Level 2)  3 speech.
Discovering my Communication Style.
Discovering my Leadership Style. (In the Presentation Mastery, instead is Body Language)
Intro to Mentoring (one of the first two can be different depending on the path chosen)

Level 3)   3 speech    
One required after an important Project, then 2 chosen between 15 or so possible (Wrote a blogpost about this Electives and even added a picture already)

In all three levels together, "speaking" 10 times.
We are asked to have also the roles of Evaluator, Table Topic Master and Toastmaster of the Meeting.

It seems not so much.

It all depends. Depends on how much time we spend discovering about "communication styles, leadership styles" and in my case for "planning for change" and trying to implement a meeting about it.

My great joy, reward came at level 3.

Not only I was able to read through many different projects to chose from Electives, but also able to create an Online Meeting about Pathways Discovery, with my team. The team of members of my online club Witty Storytellers Online. We recorded that meeting, and even added part of it in this blog: just click on the name and you can see the video of it. In it, George Marshal, chief guide, gives a great presentation followed by Q / A, then we have three pathways speeches as examples. I also was TMoM at that meeting.

More I have gone into the Pathways different levels, with projects longer and longer to complete, more I realise how much we can learn about them. How much it is worth repeating a project, even if you are not asked or rewarded for it, you learn, you progress, you go on more solid.

So far, I have done a few 'extras', learned from each of them.

One of the goals the Pathways team put on before them: have the Toastmasters faster awarded so they get more confidence. That is why, with "only" 10 speech we already finish level 3. I would add to it, that we also learn "more" or "different" things we can apply to our lives.

28 Jun 2017

First glimpse to other side of the mirror

The other side of the mirror for a Pathways user, are the "Base Camp Managers"
For each club, those are:
  • VPE, 
  • President 
  • Secretary
Usually, it will be the VPE who does approve as each level passes and puts that also in TMI as usual, noting the speech title and date, as with "legacy program". I just heard how CC or the Advanced manuals are already called by some! I love it in fact: "legacy". The President and the Secretary are there to help so that no one waits when finished a level to be accepted, if VPEducation can not for a reason.

The New Toastmasters, that join a district or region already on Pathways program rolled out, will have to go straight into Pathways, they do not get CC manual nor choice, but those who are already on the programs, can decide how long they want to stay, as they are, or combine continuing on the old 'legacy' ways parallel with beginning Pathways too, so they could help the newcomers and get a taste. They will be able to do it for two years after all the regions had finished getting Pathways.

Tonight, I went to sleep early and in middle of night got up. From 1 am to 2:30 am I listened to superb presentation from Jenny Genser, with Alonzo White. At the end, even learned that he is her fiancé!

Jenny is a Pathways Guide. A Guide helps many clubs "Base Camp Managers" and, as I have seen, also those who are already on Pathways but are a bit lost.

There are new features in Pathways now, or old features I did not realise they were there!
Jenny discovered so much more about Pathways program and how to use different features then me. Perhaps also, the Pathways team added some of them while I did not pay attention.

While it is too late now for me to write all I have learned as it is 3 am at night here. I also need to experience it, try it out, learn it before I could speak about. As to going to see the other side of the mirror, I'll have to wait till 1st July, when I am officially Secretary and become a Base Camp Manager myself.

Being able to help using GoToMeeting online platform is a huge encouragement to me. It means, I could try without going from club to club, if I am named a Guide in my London District later. And perhaps even as Ambassador, which I already am.

The most interesting question was from two Toastmasters who just finished CC and CL: what is the difference? I will have to answer that question in another post. The short answer: there is a lot more to learn that we can apply to our everyday work and life, faster then before.

27 Jun 2017

I begun walking on the chosen path, three month ago

I looked at the beginning of my speech, again. Remember? "Any speech, just so we can listen to the feedback, take it with grace. Then incorporate it in our next speech."

I thought of the feedback I have been given. Not all were justified. My voice does not seem to me so bad, and I love how I moved. Probably later on...?

For sure, I have now a more personal story I am working on to tell next time, in which I will incorporate ALL I was told. Alas, for the moment is too long, too verbose, not enough description of the moments.

A good speech and even more a good story takes time!

And yes, also about three month ago, the Navigator crashed on my computer browser, Safari. I do not speak about it here to complain, but because I am not the only one it happened. Should I not tell about a few glitches that may happen as you will go along? At least, they happened to me.

Why did it happen?
  • Is it when the Pathways does not know yet that you begun? Some tell me "today, it worked!"
  • Is it when the Java Script is not installed on the browser? With Safari has to be installed by us. Chrome has it. Others I did not test. Did you?
  • Is it because we did not tell in the right place "let pop-ups pop!" ?
It could be any of these or something else. 

Not easy to make a program "fool-proof"! The programmers saying is : there is always another fool that proves it to you, doing something unexpected! But some moves we do at the beginning can be expected and instead of a crash, have a message come out and asking you: did you allow popups? I found that now it has been added to the Base camp overview. Great!

To wait a day before you try is more difficult, as once decided we are impatient. What if, it would be asked a 24 hour wait from the beginning?

Perhaps I am wrong in all of this, but better be forewarned. 

Once it begins, once you are on to chose your path... once you begin to 'walk the walk': what a joy! Do not let the beginning problems stop you! 

Some of my friends begin to do something else, and told me "I have no time now for..." because at the beginning they had problems with their computer or browser connection with the Pathways program. Persist! Do not let some small things come in your way.

It is worth persisting. 
The program can give to us so much!

As for me, between many other things, it gave me this blog and the renewed pleasure to write day by day. And you, my dear readers! 
As I was too eager lately to look "how many more read today?"
So I pushed my counter a bit lower. Trying to influence myself to care less. Does the number count? One already is great! Two wonderful. One hundred? A miracle.
All is so relative, anyway.

Above are some ten year old pictures, from Washington DC from my Flickr page. The kids in this picture in the middle, of social interaction, are now in college. We learn to interact very early, never finish learning. And below some recent pictures from London street.

Here are a few of my latest pictures taken from a walk on Brick Lane, one of London's very old street. Many immigrants coming got there one after the other. Its walls are always decorated with wall art and graffiti, and on the street a variety of people, locals and tourists alike. Some even posed for me, Sunday!

So what, if on Flickr 2000 looking at my pictures every day, which now is really a low nowadays for me, but I publish in Flickr and created groups and animated them for 12 years! Flickr was my first "Social Media" and group discoveries, longtime before Facebook. We could participate and we could create groups, write and show pictures to each other. Open to all or open to just a few. And I have then created some and animated them long time ago.

I am looking forward to my Effective Coaching path now, my second path and preparing, repairing, trying to trim my next speech that has to be again, a story. Meanwhile, I hope to learn a bit this night about how to be a Base Camp Manager. See a bit from the other side of the mirror.

26 Jun 2017

Evaluation and Feedback? --> Learning from them

Evaluation and Feedback could be called "Learning from Feedback", because some think at this stage they should just give an evaluation. Inside it in fact three tasks are hidden.

1. Give a speech - any speech. (Of course, a better one would have been better from me, yesterday) and listen carefully, to feedback. Learn to get feedback. Learn to reflect on it. I did that yesterday.

2. Give the improved speech, using the evaluations.

3. Offer a useful specific feedback, yet another time.

I got yesterday, after my speech, a round in the text box feedback and at first,

I always delighted in the positive ones.
Wonderful speech Julie :-) Inspiring us into new pathways . Lorraine, Dubai

Every time I read one of your blogs I get more enhusiastic about Pathways. I think I am getting to the time when I would like to start my own Pathways Journey :-) Geni, NZ

Julie has a beautiful way of sharing her challenge; Julie thank you for your blog, great, Carole, AU

Great speech Julie, Olga Russia

Julie. You are a "Pathfinder" This is why I joined Firebirds. I now know more about pathways. Bruce, South Africa

Of course, those were a pleasure to read. I thought: yeah! I am great. It did not last long. 
Then, come the other ones with suggestions or critic:
Nice speech Julie... Love to hear your voice variation show more intonation to share meaning. But love the ideas in your speech. Murray, Melbourne, AU

You are improving in delivering your speeches, you are definitely learning new things in Pathways. I missed your usually personal story. You gave it as just the facts. Brian Dodd - Victoria, Canada 

If you want us to like the new educational program, and use it after using for 30 year another, do not tell anything negative about it. Your title was confusing. Your aim not very clear. Not enough specifics. Harvey, Florida 

Stop! Stop! Stop!

OK. Let me take them slowly, one by one. As it is suggested, learn to take feedback

1. True, the title was confusing, the one on the program. I did change it later but not on agenda. A title has to be very intriguing or very clear on the intent. Will change it!

2. Voice variation will be taken care of itself, as soon as I will tell a story in the moment, instead of just facts. I do have to find a personal story to explain those three month's gain.

3. While it is not true that the educational program did not change in 45 last years, to some it seems indeed thus. Pathways, online is a great change for some, indeed. Or for all of us?

Tell more specifics? In seven minutes? Not to tell anything negative? Then be proven wrong? How can I tell a story without problems and pitfalls? 

After the meeting, I reflected which of those feedbacks I could satisfy and how. After a while, the idea arrived to me. I will tell about why writing day to day blog is so important for me. 

Why and when I stopped, all the problems I had in my life and not with Pathways. 

And then, how in which way Pathways changed my life, gave me something "outside" Toastmasters. Outside? 

Do I have a life "outside"? Not so much. 

But yesterday, only one hour after the online club meeting, I went to a photowalk with another elderly photographer pal. Brick Lane in London, a very old part of London, with its narrow streets, is always full of posters and many very different people. 

I proved to myself also I can still walk. Even at 83 and even with leg that hurts at times. And I was not the only one old on street.

Now I will prove that I can still tell a story, and not just facts one after other. Adding negative to them, does not make it a story. And yes, I will be more personal. Yet, it will also tell how much Pathways impacted my life "outside". 

25 Jun 2017

3 month ago exactly, I begun Pathways

I had been REP then Pathways Ambassador from the beginning, years ago, and tried to learn something to tell about to my clubs. Instead, I told about Smedley's Education program, starting with his Basic Training book that I have and the current CC and it's firsts projects.

It was good enough for the new toastmasters and all the guests. It was not enough for me. I yearned to know more. When I heard that some had access to try Pathways I rushed to ask them "I did not have time for that" was the answer most of the time, or "we did not have a lot of access".

Well, if he does not come to me, I go to him! As soon as I heard the first Pilot districts had it, me and Brian, our Witty Storytellers Online Treasurer, as passionate as me, begun to plot and look around. What can we do? Join a club in D57 or D27. As for me, D27 part of Washington DC and Virginia was "home"! I have lived there for more then three years, and as my daughter never left, went back often.

The 25 March, three month ago, I joined Great Communicators. I was on Pathways! I run to open it.

It bombed.

Well, I am persistent and used to beta versions, as I am an early adapter. "Is it my browser, Safari?" I reboot my Macintosh laptop and opened Google's Chrome. Yes! It did open and gave me again the option of Navigator Box / Chose your Path / Base Camp. Later I installed Java Script, made sure all allows popups, and it works now not only on Safari but in all my other devices too. But as it was the Navigator that crashed, for weeks I did not touch it.

I begun by opening and chosing my path.

I did not chose the first offered but the third: Presentation Manager. At that time I told myself, at 82 I do not want to learn about leadership, let me improve more my speeches. Then I decided, after all let me try two path, Visionary Communication too, speak and convince many. Added to it later, Effective Coaching, more one to one help as I do often but can always improve. As I did not have a printer, I ordered a printed copy of Presentation Manager 10 days later, soon, I will get it.

I begun to work on the Visionary Communication path three month ago. I studied the project and gave my speech then had to wait to be approved by the Base Camp Manager.

What I hate the most from Pathways, is that a team at TMI Headquaters decided to put us in boxes.
We can not read what comes next, what is in the other levels, till we do not finish one. We see the titles, could even read in Path and Projects a few words about them, but it is not enough. I do think, many are like me, want to see the path farther ahead of us. I hope, it will change. We are not at elementary school! I really hope that decision will change and we will be able to read what is ahead of us.

1977 to 1980 I did live in Rockville Md worked in Bethesda 
As I advance, I do with more and more joy.

I did learn new ways of looking at preparing a speech, new ways of how we communicate and lead and of researching each time deeper. Yes, you CAN teach an old dog new things!

Never too late! I feel at "home" in DC and around it still today, lived there and go often back as my daughter never left. In three month, I also made new friends in Virginia.

What I love the most from my Path so far was this blog. I did not realise how much I missed writing day by day. For three years, I stopped. I love to share and take you on my journey, it seems many of you do like to come with me too. Thank you Geni! 

She evaluated this blog, when I arrived at Level 4 from New Zealand, but I got a few messages from many different places. Mexico, California, Malaysia, etc Some of most frequent readers come from. And as to today, the Post more read. 

Of course, it also depends how much I spoke about it into a FB group.
I am now going very soon to begin my Level 5 projects of Visionary Communication and at the same time begun Effective Coaching path Level 1 : today will be soon my first "free speech" : of course, about my pathways journey. Today, it will be celebration of my three month so full so well spend.

Very happy three month, filled day by day, with Pathways projects all all the research around them! We get what we put in. One can rush through or go deep in. Take time to get to know. As with the path in our life, much depends on us.

As for me, I learned a lot about Change and communicating it, organised a special online meeting about Pathways, begun to offer help about how to use it, but I see now some events in my life with different understanding. Never too late! 

24 Jun 2017

Witty Storytellers Online, my heart club

Of course, our main goal is to progress in storytelling and humour and get to know each other through continents and culture, which I do very well thank you. And whenever needed, each pinches in: so many different talents! I could never have put together with such a taste this image. We have so many different talents indeed, and each of us, old timers (a year) and new (a month), contribute.

Online is easy! That is till all crashes. Or suddenly your voice is no more heard. Or the bandwidth decides enough and your video shakes. Or there is not enough light on your face. But that last one depends on you. In fact the rest too, almost all. Other then learning the platform, GoToMeeting or Zoom most of the time, just keeping calm, trying again, rebooting your computer so the open programs close, and so on, we do have many options. 

And when all goes well... well, I can tell my next project speech, from London. Dennis can remember, from Florida, the unsung heroes of the 11 September in New York, where he was present at the time. Sadika from Beirut can tell us about not so easy mothers-in-law. Graham from Australia tell us of Ida the courageous traveller from last century.  Here is Svetlana, now speaking from Uzbekistan, our President till end June, me, Graham, and Lorraine from Dubai, who was our mentor this year and come to say again how much she appreciated our club.
That is how I see them, but Zaldy from Philippines, has another view and publishes after each meeting 20 to 40 pictures on Facebook Online Toastmasters Clubs (and our own group also). Here is how Zaldy sees us: the speaker in bigger window and the listeners smaller on left or right side. Svetlana just opens here our meeting, from Uzbekistan. Mathilde from Germany is our Toastmaster and Julie New our Timekeeper are on and listening and ready to take on their role as needed. 

But after all those wonderful and very different stories each told us Thursday morning, as I was finishing my level 4 speaking of Change, and at the same time told a story about all that happened to us in our first year, the most important for me was what Krishn, new father told us from Mauritius islands. What a change in his life!
"I spend now a quality time with my son from midnight to 4 in the morning, day by day", from next month will come to tell my next story.

How much you can evoke by an expression! We have immediately seen him trying to calm his baby at the same time appreciating that it is him and not his tired wife who stays up, night after night.

In Pathways, we can ask more then one to evaluate. Inside the meeting, it was Misako who gave feedback to my speech "Communicate Change", but I also asked Graham to send me one. Two very different views help me more understand how each viewed what and how I told.

There are two pages in each evaluation, but here is the first page. Misako always full of enthousiasm, had detected my structure: back, now and future and loved it. She missed my usual humour. I love how she wrote "you are a pathfinder, so"
Graham, a newest member felt that I succeeded to make all feel part of the journey, that was one of my main intention. He did not think I talked enough about "what happens now". He looks also very attentive to the objectives of each project. He would like me to speak more in detail. Asking "more" is always a good sign! 

Keep in mind that neither are yet on Pathways, yet can give feedback using the very good Evaluation sheet. The second page is just click on 1 to 5 on different ways it was told, I got 4 or 5 in almost all but the body movement : not easy when you sit down near a computer. 

Tomorrow, a special, it will be 3 month since I begun my Pathfinder journey. 

23 Jun 2017

A Panel Discussion?

It does not seem that they let me connect to the very interesting panel about Pathways, tomorrow.

What to do?

I will be very soon on level 5 of Visionary Communication. I found out that one of the Selective is "Moderate a Panel Discussion"

Yes! Instead of just being a Panelist, I will moderate one. Find an organiser, or organise one myself - online! But...

I can not (yet) read or look, at what is suggested under this title in the level 5 Electives Project, till I do not finish level 4. Aie!

What I have of course, it is a general description of all the projects, here it is for this project.
I really think it is a mistake not to let us read or glimpse farther till we are "inside" a level.

Is it really? Well,  I did learn, at Level 1 to Research a subject I do not know about, or know little. I really do not know much about how to Moderate a panel. Did not assist either to many of them.

I googled this morning and found a lot more material that even Toastmasters International Pathways Project can offer. Of course, soon I will also study it inside of level 5. But for the moment...

One of the finding where 7 videos by Kristin Amold, the 2d speak about the Role of Moderator.

And here it is a 'panel discussion in Toastmasters Video Series' - perhaps not the most animated but short and very well filmed, from Toastmaster Time TV, Panel Discussion, at 9/8/2015

Other then this video, I found pages and pages of interesting information about Panel and Moderating a Panel, and I just begun.

An Online Panel will not look like this serious business creators or informal from a school, but wonderful, so much to learn!

My great grandmother Paula, told me again and again "from bad thing arriving something good arises": she was so right!
Instead of being a Panelist or Audience, I will now learn how to Moderate a Panel discussion.

I have already begun to study, ponder. Soon, I will Moderate a Panel Discussion about Pathways!

Do you want to participate? Let me know.
As panelist knowing something about it? As audience asking questions?

22 Jun 2017

Three different kind of Toastmasters Clubs

Wednesday and Thursday, I experienced three different toastmasters club meeting, one after the other. 
They could not have been more different in form, but they were all similar in spirit!

First, I participated remote to a meeting in USA (Arlington). MBC Speak-EZ meet at noon at  their work. It is 5 pm here in London, early morning in Oregon. They specially acquired a GoToMeeting platform, so we could attend easy remote to their meeting.

In my opinion this kind of MIXED or Hybrid meeting, some members on place, others coming in remote, is the most difficult to organize. One has to see, hear the most possible and even, "feel together". At least they need a Screen to see the remote incomers, a Mic strong enough to hear all in place and a camera to film them.

It was a great meeting and I enjoyed it a lot. I told a few stories specific for that audience. Michelle come in from Oregon, me from London, they where in Virginia. They are already "on" Pathways, even if not all yet.

Second meeting. Almost immediately after, only one hour after hybrid meeting finished, I was taken with his car, by the future VPE of Lewisham Speakers, London. Not to far from where I live.

This time to a club, on online we call Brick and Mortar club, or a walk-in, the place we meet now is really Brick building and easy access. The club where I go for more then 7 years now, but this is my thirds place used so far the best and we stay.

We are all there. Or suppose to be. We were not many today, but we had a wonderful meeting.

Today, we changed presidents. And, at the end of the meeting three toastmasters finished their number ten, in CC: an inspirational meeting!

Even with two doors were open, it was really very warm. Only towards 10 pm when we finished, did a small breeze come in.

I evaluated a great inspiration speech, Pattricia's, that begun with a story all could relate to. In plus answered a Table Topics question and in the break, we dit chat, a new member asked me "how you got your confidence"?  After 200+ speeches, it is normal, I answered. But it was the wrong answer. I have to explain her how she can do it now! Being in the moment, feeling as she is already with friends, what else? I will explain next time, that we were all afraid at the beginning.

Third meeting, 100% online.

Got to bed at midnight (usually I sleep already at 9 pm) and then at 5:30 am begun my 100% online meeting (the last of the month and toastmaster period): Witty storytellers Online.

Dennis told us the most inspiring story relating us what he and his father got through 11 September 2011 in New York and how he admiring the young unsung heroes, the young men helping others to breath.

In my speech about Change, next, I was happy to be able to remember how we begun a year ago, with all who helped the dream come true. Where we are now, with new full of energy members coming in, and where we are going. Some of the changes we could make for the future to blend better together new and old members. We begun meeting a year ago.

Pathways, did not invent everything of course. My task was to "Communicating Change." Different views of the same meeting, a little later.

"We need to change, so nothing changes, or nothing should change in order all could change?"A great Rumanian play writer, Caragiale, put it into a political character mouth - almost 100 years ago. The only one remaining same is me, as VPE - because I feel still the need to make still some changes in our meetings and agenda.

Of course, we all change, the world around us change, but are we prepared to it? How to help for all the necessary transitions that some hail, others fear?

Lately, I read a lot about that subject. I have to stop for the moment because we change committee roles, we have new officers. But we are also going towards the Pathways Education Program.

21 Jun 2017

Let them Pop up!

All the time, something pops up, when you use Pathways. That is why you have to make sure, your device, computer, phone etc does not forbid Popups!

Here, I show the screen where I am asked the last evaluation, and also offered to save, to pring to send an evaluation form (called resource) to my Evaluator of the project.

Finally, after weeks, I caved in and did buy myself a printer. A printer that works. But already had to buy replacement inks. With 18 to 22 pages by project, that goes fast. But I can read it again, withoug my computer open. Yes, it is great to see on screen and listen to a video or two, but perhaps I am old fashioned, and still love to read too on paper.

Here are most of the level 4 elective projects to chose. Only one has to be chosen. But no one forbids you to chose more then one. You can see which two I already completed. There is something for every taste.

And some take a lot of time, others less, but they are all interesting and useful, "outside toastmasters" too. That is the last question you are asked again and again: "do you understand this projects usefulness outside Toastmasters"? Well, more and more.

So on level 4 still the required and not so easy projects waits for me to be done, Communicate Change. There are so many changes! What change would YOU communicate? How to convince those who do not feel happy with it and think they could still avoid it somehow?

First, acknowledge their concerns. Then give as much information on different level as possible. Will speak more about this another time. Thanks for reading, and coming back! Now, I am open and ready for comments. And do not forget! Let the popups live. And even if possible on a whole screen.

20 Jun 2017

This time, it worked

After more then a month of work, post by post, and also gathering audience, readers, I delivered my first speech on the Blog to a club in Virginia. They could not hear me well alas.

Is really my accent so bad, I begun to wonder.
Is my voice recorder not good enough, it was suggested to buy one.
Is it my fault that I could not be well heard?

Tonight, at Royal Roads, Vancouver Islands, Canada, the audience listened to me speaking, with delight. They not only listened, they reacted smiled, nodded and I even got a letter later "Julie, you inspired me".

My confidence is restored.

You would not think, my confidence can be shaken so easy. Even if my reason knew that not being understood last week was not my fault, my emotions did not go together with it. I did not realise till now, how fragile we can be. How difficult sometimes to accept a criticism with "grace".

I also realised, how important is to see the audience reaction while you tell your story, once again. The more the better! Each smile and nodes in different ways. For me, but I think for all, the reaction of the audience while we speak is very important, and we are even in some way directed by it.

19 Jun 2017

Leave a footprint, huge or small

Yesterday, at my regular Sunday meeting, our incoming president gave us a power point presentation.

The interesting pictures (see one bellow) where those of foot prints.

We can remember images.

We can remember a metaphor.

We can remember and connect to what he was saying, about "moments of truth" to think about our club.

And one of the footprint I had time to capture, I will add here. The other where small foot prints in sand. Also very important, he said, to take small steps toward what we want to go.  Passed too fast.

Here is Samir, also from London as me, even if both of us arrived from very different places. And his picture of a huge foot print.

Are you asking me why did I add the first picture? It is about one of Firebirds Collective active members, Bob (Robert) Blakeley, TMI President in the years where they found a way, to get women inside the Toastmasters clubs. One club at a time, one woman at a time, in 1975 / 1976. A huge important impact he left us!

He is also a great evaluator, was yesterday.

Of course, now we are almost as many (or more) women then men, but when I went the first time ever to a Toastmasters club, in Silver Spring, Maryland, "1000 feet aways from the Washington monument",  I went because they just opened to women. So? They were many men. And I have been single now a single parent with two adolescent kids, for more then 2 years! It begin to feel enough.

There were not many places to meet in Paris, but as I arrived in 1977 July in Washington DC, I found out to my utter delight that so many place and pretext to meet! Folk dance, poems reading, pool parties, and even single parent meetings! As I chose what would interest me anyway, more and more I found myself speaking with other, interesting women. We were too many women everywhere.

In a piano bar, as I chatted with a younger woman, original from DC, she told me "Julie, you should go to this club named Toastmasters, there are a few around here. They are interesting, intelligent, and have very few women, yet."

The first club, did not stick, my daughter had classes I had to take her that day. The second one, Monument Toastmasters, meeting at dinner under an Italian Restaurant (they still do) did. They were indeed, interesting, and they were intelligent too. I was only the second woman between 22 members. Alas, they were also great husbands, well married! Till I found out that, I already was hooked on learning to speak better in public, understand the ropes, look into eye, listen better.

And you know what? With those skills, outside the Monument club (I did finish my 15 project CC there in the next three years), I did find what I was looking for.

As for the path, you never know what unexpected delights you will find on the way. And as Samir, told us yesterday, you can make also small steps at a time. You will never know all the benefits that can come from that small step.

18 Jun 2017

We should not wait...

This is how it looks now, my Visionary Communication Path. With the Communicate Change waiting and two elective projects, instead of one completed. The three first levels finished.

Let it rest a bit. I found a lot of wonderful material about the subject of Change, have to absorb it. So many different changes to chose for! Will do it, if possible in July.

And here is how my Effective Coaching path looks like now. The Ice Breaker given. The Evaluation and Feedback "on the way" ready to Launch whenever I get farther in it. So that is what I will do for now. In that project in fact are hidden three that go together.
I am not still sure, after all these years, did I learn to receive feedback with grace? Offer a positive enough evaluation, specific enough to be implemented? I think, this one I can repeat many times and it would never be perfect. But I can try to improve.

Described here is how this will go. 

A. Chose any topic. Create a speech. Deliver it.
Listen to the feedback of the Evaluator, of your Mentor, of yourself.

B. At a different meeting, present a speech in which you incorporated the feedback.
Same speech (I prefer) or new one.

C. Serve as Evaluator at yet another meeting.
Now having understood how important a Constructive Feedback can be.

Then the projects explain, how to accept the feedback with "grace" listening to the specifics. It explains also how to listen, really listen. And also for the evaluator to not forget to be a good

Listener while taking notes for his speech to tell about it. Active listening skills are already hinted and hinted.

Limit the constructive criticism to two or three points. Small attainable goals.

There are more informations about how to be a good Evaluator, the most I liked was "not to be absorbed too much in taking notes, show the speaker that you do listen"

Too often, we do not do that!

Offer Feedback not Advice. I never realised before how much difference that could make.

After 8 years as Toastmaster, even after having passed this project in the other path, I realised still so much to learn! Yes, when we do a second path, we take more notice to details we perhaps skipped too fast before through in order to get farther!

This Project: "Feedback and Evaluation" with its three Tasks, could be implemented in any club, with or without Pathways already there. Great to be ready for when it will arrive and great to learn. 

And could be even fun!

17 Jun 2017

My four preferred path

There are ten path to chose in the Toastmasters Pathways program, each with different focus.
I looked and read, looked and read : they were 10 choices, 10 path to chose from. Each sending me in a different direction. I did not chose as they are here, I do have only three of them for now.

I am now going through the 5 levels of the Visionary Communication.
The focus of this path is to develop skills for sharing information with a group, planning communications and creating innovative solutions. I believe that I had a vision and created an innovative solution implementing it, through my Storytelling Workshops first, then through Witty Storytellers Online, there is so much more to learn. I am not in a hurry to finish this path.

My second path will be Effective Coaching.
I will begin it real, this month, with the story of how we created the Witty Storytellers Online club, through one to one connections that become a team. I do coach often and I like improving a speech or pushing a bit someone to go further. The focus is building consensus, about which I have a lot to learn yet, and contributing to the development of others by coaching and establishing strong speaking skills. So as I understand, this path is more about one to one connection then in group to an audience. With the different focus, this path does complement well the Visionary Communication.

Presentation Mastery, was in fact my first choice, needing always to learn new techniques to speak better and more effectively. Alas, I ordered in in print, I am still waiting to get them. I want to experiment how it feels when someone does not go online to go through a path.

In fact, I am really happy to have begun the two others before, as they gave me unexpected joys and discoveries. The path we want to go first, is not always the best for us. 

I do believe in destiny. Then of free choice.

I decided on the Team Collaboration as my fourth path. Learning better Listening skills, motivating others, collaborating with a team is its aim. I understood that all paths really deliver and help as stated. I chose instead Motivational Strategies, with same aims.

I did not buy this one. Will be waiting for the Pathways to arrive to me, instead to go towards it. I'll get it free. I am not so bad in listening, perhaps even motivating usually. But I do realise, it is always lot more to learn.

Long way to go!

In each path they are 5 short but deep Levels.

The first level comes with same titles, four speech and an evaluation. I can focus those to the aim of the path as I arrive on each of path in turn.

In the second level, we have three tasks, one of them sometimes different, depending on the path.

At level three, there is a Required project very specific to the path, and a lot great Electives to chose from (two, from 15 and more to come it seems). Almost, as a reward to having arrived to that level. I did 2 electives but read all. It felt for me, as choosing from goodies.

I am now at level 4, there are "only" two tasks, I have finished the elective, writing this blog, having it evaluated, speaking about it and my speech also given a feedback. Alas, they did not hear or understand well my 3 minute speech. I  will offer it again to one of my online toastmasters clubs. They are from all over the world and used to different accents, and usually love listening to me as I speak.

The required speech is Communicating Change, will be delivered next month as we go into the new Toastmasters year. And I hope, no one will become angry like in this humorous image.

I intended to deliver in next week, but I decided this morning, to begin instead the "free speech" - the first that comes after the Icebreaker - from Effective Coaching path instead. "Free speech", subject of our choice, it will be about our online club creation a year ago. Sttt! Do not tell.

I will offer it twice, once to my latest club, once to Witty Storytellers Online to celebrate our achievements, one by one and team work.

I read so much about Change and Transition and Managing Transition. Delivered the speech already once, did not like how it went, next month will deliver it at least twice again to different clubs a very different version. It is a very important to be able to think, prepare and be able to deliver a good speak about Change that will come. An enticing one.

Even if "all" the interface as I go along is not "always" a joy, but I am sure that will change, the traveling through the path was and still is a great joy, and now I am sure it will be for all the four path. I am not rushing, as I need to savour the moment the discoveries, the deliveries. And the contact, with the audience. As well what remains in me.

So, I am 83 and will be older when I go through all four of them, so what? Never too late!

16 Jun 2017

Create a blog? How ?

I was send a challenge: 
Tell us how to create a blog.

It would be so easy to show how - but writing about it inside a post?
So yesterday late, I could not sleep : how to write about it?

First, I knew, to create a Blogger blog, like this one, offered free from Google who did buy it, first of all one has to have a Google account, a google email. Most of us already have, anyway. It is free, too. If not, step one would be to create one. Googled "how to create a blogger blog" and got more answers.

When you are inside your mail program, at right you have a drop down arrow letting to all the different free apps that google offers. Almost as last, there is Blogger. Chose it.

I had problem with that yesterday afternoon, as it went straight to this blog, instead of the "New blog" on left that it was suggested.

Aie! Aie! What to do? I discovered, the "New blog" was right at the bottom of all the blogs I have created. Did I create really so many?

Well, once I got to the "new blog" just to try I asked it to do it for me. It went directly suggesting me to chose the style (Template) of the blog I wanted to create. And yes, before beginning all, one has to "make sure you can have cookies (send by blogger) that Javascript is on and, Google recommends you use your Google+ profile - if not, you can create a special Blogger profile. I tried both, finally chose the Google+ that not only I believe gives you better Stats but with each post publishes it also on Google+, good if you want more audience. Those are technical matters? Well those choices have to make once.

Chose a name. The Title can be changed later. The address not.
So chose an address easy to remember, easy to find.
And, more important, but the blogger tells you, not yet used.

Pathways, was already used. "pathwaysexperience" was not used. I was on!
That gave me the "url" : http://pathwaysexperience.blogspot.co.uk as I live in uk (can be com too), but it is enough in fact to type "pathwaysexperience.blogspot" to get to my blog, is it? As my title and intent is to write about my Pathways Experience, it is easy to remember. For me. Is it for you too?

After you added the Title and Blogger gave you an unused Address, chose your Theme.

By the way, the Theme as the Title, can be also changed later if you want. At the beginning, I played trying a few. This time, as creating this blog, I just chose the first one.

Looked at it, liked it. Remained with.
It is also possible, later to change any part of the chosen theme, the characters, the background picture, the place of different parts, so on. But other then to play, why change it now?

Well, I have to admit, I did go and change the Font of the title to make it more "sexy" more enticing, in my opinion. Then stopped at that.

Now, you have blog and really, really! you can begin to write your first post. Unless, you want to add some gadgets to it. I did want to add links to some old blogs, a counter of visitors, a history of my notes, well, look all I have.

In Layout, you have the choice of ready made Gadgets and can just drag them to the place you desire. From day one, I chose some places then changed them around.

The content remain, only the place will change.

Here are some of my gadgets from this blog, with their latest place.

Pageviews was all the way down at the beginning, but I am curious so I pushed it all the way up.

Blog Archieve was from the newest to the oldest, one on top of the other, as the notes are, I changed it to from "newest to oldest" an option inside the gadget.

Is it helpful or is it confusing?

The +1 lets you send my post to the Google+ directly, I am not sure any of my readers used this one. Followed in my blog by the 5 most popular Posts (can chose other number too) : yes, I am curious. Are you too? Some go directly there and instead of reading titles in the Archieve, click to see why are they popular... and it becomes even more popular.

There are so many different things you can add to a blog, but instead let us go and begin to write! You got a Post that looks like a sophisticated word processor. You can chose at any time in the Compose mode the Type, left or right, bold or underline. When a word is chosen a Link to go when clicked. Insert an image (you chose one) or a video, and so on.
At any moment, if you are really courious, you can see how it looks in HTML which is behind it.
Now, look at right side. One can Schedule, write in the evening for example and put the date so it is published in the morning at some hour. I used that a few times in this blog.

Looking a bit better, I discovered yesterday evening the Labels! It mean the words by which a search can be made and that post found more easy. Before, I did not know where they have put it! That is my reward to have decided to write this post with all the images to dump and to clean and explain.

Let me finish with this one.

In fact, that is what I use day after day. It also shows you two of my posts I saved as Draft, perhaps will publish them or not. Already 44 published, this could be the 45 ?

And of course, when I really want to know about it I click on Stats (did not often) as most of it goes really into publishing what you want to write.

Know: it remains. Once we publish something, it does not disappear even if you delete it. The web, Google has long memories. Even if sometimes, you do not find it when you would like.

I have already wrote a bit about what is IMPORTANT.
Well, important if you want to have more readers, important if you want to retain them, come back.
Important is to write with a regularity. Important to write varied material, and interesting as possible.

And yes, the layout, short paragraphs, or combined long with one very short line, and your images too.

Now, up to you! Create your own blog and tell me what I missed. What I should add. In an other post, and not tomorrow, as not all are interested in creating a new blog.

Post Script.
There are other kind of blogs, not from Blogger, but I used only two others ten years ago. They seem only free but as soon as you want some whistles, gadgets, another blog, they ask to pay and pay. So, as for me, I remain faithful to my dear old blogger, I begun using when it was not so easy as today. So many blogs later, I am still coming back and back to it.