30 Nov 2017

50 Toastmasters together from all over the world!

Autumn leaves, strong even in rain and wind. Taken yesterday, on my street. For me, it tells also about our Panel about Pathways we just finished.

From 100 having put their names on "I want to be there" 50 did come and participated and enjoyed!

One hour, a very organised Panel leader with very well chosen five different panelist, an attentive Timekeeper and a Chat monitor. Together, through winds and electricity cuts, here or there, we went one and continued as if nothing happened. Zoom is great for it and from the get go we had co-hosts.

The the first Panelist, Chief Pathways Guide of division 57, the first who went "on" Pathways, showed us slides while he spoke.
Here is his screen while he continued to speak, about the "way to DTM" in Pathways as he designed it. Very clear. You have to finish two path. I am between those who done this, as George too. Be a club Sponsor. Done that. A club Mentor or Coach: I am now coaching a club with not many members but wonderful ones. Club officer for 12 month : done that. District Officer? I hope I will get the 8 clubs to be Ambassador, necessary, for the moment only 5 clubs in my Area I have been Ambassador for 2 years now, but what counts is from now on.

Downloaded the DTM project and read it twice and begin to determine what useful project I can do. There are now many linked to Pathways Adoption in my club, in my District. So, I have a chance... Still hoping even when the wind blows.

A most interesting slide George showed us, and it was interactive: as he spoke we went from one District to the other, then Region by Region. The rollout, I published it already but so much more can be understood as we see them in a picture!

After George Marshal, the second panelist was Lauralee, Pathways Guide from West Coast USA, and VP PR of the most amazing humorous club I have seen in all my years in Toastmaster. That is why I joined Yaquina Toastmasters club, too.

She told us about the Virtual Support she offered and recorded, then posted in the club's great blog: that is how I discovered them. She is also a great blogger and passionate about Pathways.

I was the third panelist, also I think the oldest, and at some time, even managed to bring the audience by sharing my screen into my BaseCamp. Here is only a Facebook picture of me, as I was busy speaking.
It is not how we do when all is calm in our lives, but how we behave and react with the wind blowing around, the rain beginning to make our path slippery and we continue slower but do not stop on our journey. Knowing, one day the wind to stop, the sun shine again.

I spoke "up close and personal" and how one can become "expert" by something we learned just last week: from then on, we can help others.

The fourth Panelist was Sudha, she is going on into Pathways, full speed, and very enthusiastic about it. I was so absorbed by her speech that I almost forget the snap this picture: you see the Timer already signals RED: it come too early each time for all of us.

So much to tell! That is how felt also the Listeners, our Audience. At the end telling us "it was wonderful! We need more like this, regular panels." Sudha already told us: I will do the next.

Brian from West Coast Canada was our last Panelist, and told us about his experience, already years before Pathways begun, he was tracking, all he could gather about it.

With Brian, encouraging each other, we went Remote Access to the same D27 club to put finally our hands on Pathways. "Up close". He become the President to that club, in July, introduced Zoom, and studies Base Manager Duties too.

After the first speeches by each Panelists, Michelle, asked each of us two questions she prepared, about Misconceptions "fallacies" we heard, complains that we read, then questions send to her from the Pathways Discussion Forum before the meeting. We finished with questions conveyed by Aaron, chat monitor, and the hour went on so fast!
Here is a screen shot "Gallery view" by Peter, it is not the Speaker view : Sudha speaking here again. But we can see many participants to the discussion from all over the world! Some only names, closed their video while looking and listening. And coming to the screen, after the meeting as we asked their opinion. "It was great! Learned a lot! More like this" was unanimous answer.

Indeed, there is need to more information, more answers and discussions. With them, some fear of "new" will dissipate, faster or slower. One confirmation we had: the new who did not know otherwise before, take to Pathways normally and do not have any problems, even speaking "without awards" for some of their first speeches: they just want to learn.

In all, a great meeting, hope we will be able, if you were not with us, to show the recording of it.

29 Nov 2017

Panel moderator / Panelist

Team leader, team member? They could not exist without each other! Each panel needs a Moderator and a few Panelists.

Each storyteller needs audience to which to tell. The Listener is very important. In a storytelling event, when all goes well, listener is so absorbed: does not have time to observe, analyse, just goes with the flow.

When reading the Panel Moderator Project, I realised it asked me also to volunteer as Panelist, even if, it was written, you do not get "credit" for it. Do we work to get credit, or to learn? For me the later, the most often. Can we learn being in the panel, being part of a team? I am finding out: a lot!

While the Panel Moderator is the one most 'seen' leading her or his team, the Moderator also does a lot preparing. The Panelist is there to contribute with the knowledge the audience of the Panel need. Ready not only to introduce one part of the expertise, special to her, but also to answer the questions conveyed to her through the Moderator.

First, I created a Panel on Zoom, I did not know much about, as the project said. My panelists, knew a lot more and each told, as I asked a story about it. Then the audience asked questions. My second Panel, and third was about Pathways with different Panelists leading to diversified answers for different audiences. You understood, by now, I have got the Panel bug.

Then, I was asked to be part of the panel, of course I said "yes": till now already twice. Each time, I learn, observing the different ways each Panel Moderator prepares its Team, its Panelists. More general, or more detailed, there is no "the right way". How much freedom you let others, how much preparation of details, how you "prepare" or not the questions the audience may ask, on the spot or send before.

I did now know till now, how complicated can be and how detailed or general, also, I did read an excellent kindle book on the issue. Without being a Member of a Team, a Member of a Panel, I would not learn enough. In it's wisdom, those who wrote the Moderating a Panel Project, knew.

Perhaps, being part of a Team is better suited to me then leading a Team?

I love to be "part" as I never was much in my life. But do I know enough how to? For sure, I will try to do as much as I can to be part of the Pathways launch in my home district. Still to be determined, exactly what role I will have in it, but the important is to be there when needed. How it is needed. By whom is it needed.

The Panel Discussion, is coming tomorrow early morning, 6 AM London time, at the time of the usual meeting of Witty Storytellers Online, lead by the President of the club. We are many Panelists this time and it will pass too fast to be sure. It will remain a memory, for all present and a recording will remain too. Better be present, it is a whole different experience, even when there will be at least two different recordings, also showing different views of the same event.

I was very happy when one of the participants wrote me: "I heard about the Pathways Discussion Forum Facebook group, from your blog." If you go now, you could still get into the Pathways Panel "live" not only through its recording. Michelle Alba-Lim assembled an interesting and diverse panel.

The difficulty for me will be to say "all" from my experience in 2 to 3 minutes! Taking out essence of it, some that is more "me" then the others "domain" is a great challenge to face. And together with all those interesting panelists! Of course, I did not even finish to tell about my experience in all these 200+ last blogposts! And a lot more to come. As I go along, I discover and understand more of what 'was' or 'will come' even if Magda Van Rooyen as remembered me in her wonderful Pathways Icebreaker "Que sera, sera" : I do believe also in fate. Then, we take charge.

28 Nov 2017

Pathways Rollouts decided!

It seems official now, in a few days, Regions 10 and 12 roll out. 

A friend from New Zealand all excited: "Finally, here". Then she added "but perhaps a few days later in our District: the Guides have first to finish their visits, and a few of them did not yet."

It seems, region 3 and 5 jumped up, as all English speaking. Then comes Region 1 and 11.

I am in Region 11, Guides just got appointed, Ambassadors too. Soon the work begins to prepare for a March beginning. So much goes on before the launch! I will now experience the behind the scene, and it seems with a title like "Chief Pathways Guide" to be there whenever needed for information, workshops, and spreading the word in Social Media. London and not far from it is my first aim as Pathways Ambassador. Visiting "my" clubs together with the Guide. 

Second aim will be helping all the Guides, as needed with all concerning the BaseCamp, and also using Social Media to make all members know and love what I do already love with passion, that new educational program of Toastmasters that is coming to our region. I could even make helping the successful launch with a team as my DTM Project. Its scope a bit bigger then just helping a club, and as I re-read it this morning, it is "just what I needed". The different steps will help me becoming also more organised! 

As I read it again, I realised, while there is no Committee to "hold my hand" during a project that in some ways is similar to the HPL project, in fact, there is a 360° evaluation towards the end, a lot more detailed and from three sources. The Team, The Organisation, A peer! 

The last Region to roll out has also all "Undistricted" in which are all the Online Clubs. There are many Guides already in the Online clubs (100% online) because all our members are Dual: also in other districts. My club will have no problem, most of us already on Pathways, so we can help other clubs. 

Exciting times ahead of us! 

27 Nov 2017

What if... Remembering how I got here

Portes et fenêtres-4
This morning, I went to my flickr site, and discovered some of my pictures from 2008 end November Going to the discovery of the places around my relatively new apartment, building, street, with my camera. New in London, new in England.

Suddenly, I realised: "what if?"

Going towards the church, again. One day when I felt the most alone, an unknown woman inside hold my hand. I am not religious but that linked me to it. Going back one day, end November, in the entrance I chatted with a man, he listened.

I remember so well. "Come in!" No, thank you. Then we begun to speak, or rather he listened to me. At one time I told him: what I am really looking for is to find a Toastmasters Club in London. I have been toastmasters all those years ago in Washington DC and I would like to find them now, again.

His face illuminated: I am the President of one of them! Not so far from here. We meet every other Wednesday. I could even drive you to our next meeting. Philip, still drives me to the meeting, after all this years, and when I was worst with my leg, broken, he even come up the stairs to make sure I get home well. We had different opinions on one thing or other during all theses years, but then we agree, with a smile, to disagree. The understanding between us still there.

What would have happened if I did not get there that day, 2008 ? Ages ago. So many things happened to me since then, but Toastmasters changed my life, gave it a goal and purpose, a tribe with different people. A place, in London now with more then 60 clubs, to tell my stories. To help and be helped. 

It was another accident, falling in my own bathroom on a bit of water that got my left leg and foot broken in five places. I was named Division Governor just a week before, and staying in my bed, not able to move outside the room, even go to the window, when I discovered Online Toastmaster club! What if... they also changed my life again. 

I was asked this morning: "how could you finish two path so fast?" 
Nowadays, I am full time Toastmaster.

I am now in 7 clubs paid member: 3 are 100% online, one is still the one Philip takes me twice a month, nearby, and three others Pathways Region clubs I join Remote. Beside those, I visit, help and speak into other 5 smaller clubs, Precharter or Struggling, through Remote Access. I did roles, helping out, now even Coaching, Sponsoring, and yes, I can ask for a speech there too when I am ready. 

Each club, has its own charm. I did know so many wonderful people (and a few only less) through Toastmasters! And because the 100% are Global, all over the word! Learned so much and realised how really round our earth is, with springtime now in New Zealand and already snowing around Vancouver in Canada! No seasons in Philippines but just a while ago an awful Typhoon. In Mauritius, one of our toastmasters showed us his newborn son, and from Australia, another her young daughter before then went to swimming lessons. Through online, as often we meet from our home, it seems even more intimate then when I go to Lewisham speakers in London. I learned more from many of them also through one to one online chat. 

I felt very alone in 2008, even with my son and his family not far away, I don't have time to feel alone any more. My Mentee got through Level 2 just writing me about it, and Magda send me a link about how to evaluate better a blog. How to write more compelling. This blog post is not about Pathways, yet in a way it is. Reminding me, perhaps you too, how much being together, listening really to each other, having a place to meet can change our lives.

26 Nov 2017

Printed or not Printed? Electives to chose or not?

As one who had been there, seen that, one of very few who did chose a Printed Path at the very beginning, Presentation Mastery, one of the 5 path available as Printed Material, I always try to dissuade all as much as possible "do not chose it, because the choices are taken away from you".

It means, all the electives chosen, and you can not see any others, nor read or print the others.
But lately, I come to cases, in the Pathways Discussion Forum, where those are the only choice, and was asked "how to find out which 5 are those?"
So here are the 5 available Printed Paths: Presentation Mastery, Dynamic Leadership, Leadership Development, Strategic Relationships and Team Collaboration. Between all those, 2 are also available in many other languages: Dynamic Leadership and Presentation Mastery.

Rewind now. In my case, I did not have a printer and my family had to print for me all I wanted to read far from my computer. At some time, I felt (fast) it was too much to ask from them. That was the main reason I chose to Pay a printed path, 20 + 25.

Once I did only, did I find out the followings.

1. I will not get them at once but in 3 shipments (included in price) :

  • Level 1 and Level 2
  • Level 3 and Mentoring
  • Level 4 and Level 5
2. Aside for my own problem, that because a misunderstanding I had to wait a long time for getting the first shipment, I did not know either, then in the Manual I got, there will be places telling me : "now look at the video", "here, answer the Quiz", "now look at project x or y". And none of those will be available for me: it is not Printed AND Web based Path! It is Printed OR Web based. Disappointing, unless you know from the let go.

3. In pathways, from Level 3 you have one Required Project, or two, plus many yummy Elective Projects, from which we can chose. What a pleasure! We can read any of those! Save all or only a few. Print any we want, and not only those we chose for this time in this path. I did buy my printer!

As you can see, there are 13 Elective Projects at Level 3 (in any Path I think) and from them we are Required to complete 2. Before choosing which ones, I could read, save, print, any I wanted. Well, not only before, also after. Of course, you can if you wish complete: study and deliver more then the minimum number, and at my first path I did 3 (it was noted, but 2 or 3 or more count the same.) Of course, more I read, more I liked and learned. 

Leave some of them for the next path! Of course, at the next path, we can also repeat those we have already chosen: better probably at each time, as the understanding deepens.
Here are some of the Level 3 "electives" from which, at this time, I have chosen "Connect with your audience" and "Inspire your audience". For another, first path, I have chosen "Connect with Storytelling" and "Understanding Voice Variety" going well together. At my last path, I have done, and today I told about it shortly, "Focus on the Positive". 

Each more interesting then the other.

At Level 4 the Electives, from which we have to chose a minimum 1 are a lot longer to prepare, more to work on them. A month of blogging, half hour of podcast during some time also, managing a 20 minutes minimum online meeting with its preparing, and so on. Very useful and interesting choices.

For Level 5, the projects take a lot more time and effort and knowledge gained before are used. It is how I discovered Moderating Panels and being a Panel member! Prepare to Speak Professionally, ask for a 20 minutes speech or longer. And the HPL project is similar to the one known already in the previous Education Program. Similar to the DTM Project but this later does not ask for a committee. 

So you see? In the Printed material, there are 2 electives chosen for you at level 3 and one elective chosen at Level 4 and one for Level 5. All the others, are not options you can read, save, print or try.

I did understand that in some occasions, there is not possibility to go online at all and no one to help. Then, yes one has to go "printed material" but otherwise, avoid it because you loose a lot from the wonderful Pathways Experience of choices. 

It is still pity, that it was decided that we should not be allowed to read all those Projects when we buy or get a Path, only those at the Level we are at. But that is true only for the First Path. As soon, as you got through one, as the electives vary vary little, often not at all, you can get back any time and know what will come at the next level, all but for the Required Project. 

There is so much and so different things, "competencies" and so on to learn!

As I just finished the Focus on Positive so now I see the glass half full : "If I would not have chosen a Printed Path, I would not be able to appreciate the difference nor speak about it and write about."

25 Nov 2017

Books I read during my first Path

My first path was the most difficult and the most interesting so far for me. The beginning! Trying to understand what I have to do and how to do them better. 

Project 3 of the Level 1 is clear, and from time to time other projects remind us too: Go farther! Do not stop at the material we give you. Discover, read, apply. Go deeper. I did.

I did publish already in this blog, in another post between the last 200, as this is 201, and I begin again to tell about them today, as I try to create, at least 8 more new compelling posts explaining also a bit more of my first path's journey at the same time. More, posts of course, again, I will not stop : so much more to say!

But as with a speech, each time we repeat it we see and tell about in different ways. Those books are not in the order of Levels or how I read them, but as I found them on my Kindle. 

I created my Icebreaker, remembering the time I joined the first time around Toastmasters, in 1977, age 43, divorced now for two years, I was looking at first, for a club with many man and few women. This is also a valid reason to join, isn't it? 

I discovered, more and more details, sentiments, feelings of loneliness, sounds and smells, as I told the story to my three Pathways clubs, one after other as I joined them, all not far from the place I joined the first time. Next, I do an Icebreaker, I will try to tell something very different about me.

The Evaluation and Feedback project was a joy, but telling it a bit less. Transitions, from William Bridges, was read again for it. It was a story about huge transitions in my life, around age 25. Some I really did not want and other I decided myself. Either was easy. Many other tales to tell about that time too, "Enemy of people", loosing job and forbidden to work. But becoming woman, finally. 

As the same author wrote another book, I discovered that William Bridges he writes in Managing Transition, applies to our Transition to Pathways, and how the Organisation, and us, should do and what not to do, how important is empathising with those feeling afraid or lost, how important is to use any means to speak most possible about what is coming. How important is to involve all. 

Transition is about Change, and Change was all along in the Projects of my path: Visionary Communication. So I could read and read, and it applied in many cases. Change is with us all the time. Never finished, at any age.

My path was traced, but when I arrived at level 2 the first time, I was lost. Lost in the unfamiliar boxes, expressions, ideas. The book, Leading with Style is thin, but finally all came clear to me. It is good from where our leadership main style comes to us, but even more to understand "it all depends on the situation" and we have to be flexible. Same with the Communication Style. Depends with whom we communicate. Beside, of course, we have a bit of any of different styles in us, even if, some could be stronger. 

Communicating Change book and many others, like the book about Coaching, was read but not much used in fact, in contrary, Moderating Panels excellent book, helped me understand a lot again, at level 5. And yes I decided this morning, that I will offer yet another Panel for the path I am working on now. At the same time, be a Panelist of course. "You do not get recognised for it, but help the other one, moderating it. Please, return the favour", is proposed. This Thursday, I will be Panelist - about Pathways. When can I do my own panel it is not yet clear, but I know already the theme: Storytelling! We all love stories! But do we really understand what makes a story great? Stick? 

24 Nov 2017

Simple digital background is best!

Zoom is a meeting platform online or remote access. It does allow for setting Background called Green screen, from Filming times.
This is how they used to prepare for a "serious" filming, and after the actors played. They would instead of green add Paris or Venice or a Sea scene behind them.

For the zoom, I still had to put a green tissue on the wall behind me, then sit a meter farther to make it work best and have the least shadow possible. Using one light source put as far as I could so it does not bother the walk in and out of my living room. About 2 meters far in 45 degree from me. I learned, that light near me does not work, nor if they are two different kind of lights illuminating me and the screen.

Then, I allowed in the setting "digital background" from Advanced Features, and tried out at least 30 different backgrounds and made an album, still in my flickr with 50 of them I believed great! 

As I am an avid photographer, it was not difficult to find images, that I thought it would be ideal. Flowers first, palm trees, my own curtains from my room in the wind. Inside, outside, I tried all. But finally, I got to the conclusion : as usual, simple is best!

I remembered, the same happened when we got the first time, different characters. We did play with them and put 5 different ones in one page of text. With time, we learned the truth: simple is best!

Nowadays, I use this blue background, very simple, and not coming in the way of what I want to do or say, with a blue teeshirt on me. So my face, white hair and arms are the only one really showing. It does seem simple, but I shine in it. 

I "borrowed" this blue from Macron, the French President, while he spoke about his vision of European Union. He stood out so well in that television background.
I took out first him, using Adobe Photoshop Elements, so I can come in instead when needed, then added blue also instead of the the flags, transformed all to different blues. 

One can still see some traces which in my opinion make the background only seen as more natural. 

Two month ago I presented what I learned about the use of Zoom "green screen": How to change the backgrounds and show any pictures you have taken behind you, on a green tissue bought from Amazon, now nailed on my wall. 

The "to do" and "not to do" to make look them good. All I have learned at that time. They gave me 20 minutes. I prepared a slide show, presented it for a funny Pathways project "Difficult audiences". The planned (but not known by me how) interruptions helped to listen instead of coming in the way. 

Difficult audiences project, can be a very funny project to play in any meeting!

This Sunday, I will present to my club Firebirds Collective another aspect of the program, "how to use Zoom screen-sharing". I can not attribute it to any Project I am preparing now, so what? I will help those who need it in the club. I do use it often nowadays: it does help me to coach or mentor, to understand and make understand.

All this are very new for me, but I like to share my discoveries. 

Some use Screen Sharing, to present a prepared slide show, I do it mostly to share what is on our screens or take them to my Base camp paths and projects. For trouble shooting and for demonstrating. Taking it, each in our home, from afar. 

Now, I have to sit down and prepare the scenario for the 15 minutes I was given. I learned already, not to forget any beginning, setting needed to use it, so all can follow and do the same later. In fact, that is the beauty of showing something you just learned! As with time, all the firsts pains are forgotten and no more mentioned. 

We do have to show the first steps to be able to take all with us on the road. The path we went through.

23 Nov 2017

I was not born yesterday

I could be believed, and in my Standup Comedy routine now I embrace it and play on it, that an "old lady" not only never swears (I do it only on stage and only in English) and learned them recently. An old woman does not know either about computers, systems and programs. So when I tell about finding hair... on my face, and all that did not work to get rid of it, "I found finally a solution: I photoshopped them out!" everyone laughs. Even if it was the truth. And indeed, "never grew back. On screen".

When did I got first into computing, why and how"? The certificate here "CAP Informatique" dates from 1972 when I nailed the state examination. I was as proud of it as I was on my Level 1 in pathways": proved to myself, still can learn.

Why? How did it happen?

We moved to Paris, a year before, and my daughter had to learn "Modern Math" all with 0 and 1. What? At that time, some in French Education System believed, we humans have to learn to speak as the Computers do: with 0 and 1 only!

Tried out a computer school, one year through correspondence, while working as chemist, did teach the programming basics, plus Fortran and Cobol. But we could never touch a computer in those time! Touching a real computer was too expensive! We wrote code only on paper.

I got interested. In 1977 in USA Research Institute of Bethesda, I got to use computers through Terminals installed in our chemical lab. I connected and learned Basic interactive, then took some computer classes "so we can justify our cost" they told us. I also learned to use "word processor" with a letter when we wanted bold, another letter for new line, and so on. Used it to write my boss Bio, and from then on, I could play... And print my first ever page: had to go then to recover that printing.

Back in France in 1980, had to find a new job, change profession. Begun to teach "computers for beginner" : the same way I tell now about Pathways. At night before, all day before, I learned, then I went to the company to "teach" as an expert. One step before them.

At one company I discovered Apple II ! "Please make an invoice program for us in Applesoft" I will pay you well. "Invoice? Applesoft? Apple II?" never heard of them! But needed the money. If you listened to my Mistaken Identity video, in this blog, it tells the rest of the story.

That is how I, already "old lady",  almost 50 years old, dropped in the Personal Computer Revolution. Here is a badge I got in San Jose, during the first ever Macintosh developers meeting. I was by then, representing Paris, as Distributor of Macintosh related products with my company "BIP Bureau Informatic Personalisée". I chose B not because we were really a "bureau, office" but it come after A of Apple in the expos we showed our products.

From then on, I lived the Personal Computer Revolution from inside. And each time something new come out, sold my old to a client, with added training: that made up the new device price for the company. I met Steve Job, heard him putting down Steve Wozniak, and told him later when he was pushed out from Apple "we will regret and miss you": he was at an Apple Expo Paris that day. I met Microsoft"s Bill Gate, also in a Paris meeting, and asked him a tough question, he did answer it very cleverly! Went to many interesting Expos and found great products to introduce in France.

Then, I was hired to an University in Paris to be... a Plumber. Well, Mrs Mac, go and help out whenever was a problem with one of the 300 Macintosh users. Got to teach them! Trained them in Workshops, so they call me less, and discovered not only internet but the Web, when it begun.

So yes, I am not born yesterday, and I know a some about Photoshop, Word, Excel, Scripting and so on. But it changes so fast! I barely learned of GoToMeeting platform, to hold online meetings, then had to switch to Zoom. Well, I did fall in love with Zoom when I realised: I can use my own pictures as background! And later, I become "specialist" (one step ahead only, remember?) of Zoom's Screen Sharing: this Sunday will deliver a Seminar, online, showing and explaining "how to".

Remember! with all this and with Pathways it is not difficult to be seen as an Expert!
Just be one step ahead of others. 

22 Nov 2017

Why? I still don't understand!

I love pathways, but in its user interface there are still some very annoying things I still do not understand why were put there, and still often get into same, hole. Then have to get out of it.
In my E-Portofolio, once I get there, to add a new Evaluation Filled form, that yes, by now, I do know, only I will see, get this one to add it to the Level it belongs. And before I go further, no, there are not different from Path to Path, so before adding them, I now learned to put in their names the Path initials and shorten the names too.

What would you do if you arrive here?

Well, I am used on my computer to click or double click on the folder I see to open it. I still do sometimes, and nothing happens. The folder does not open. Now, I did learn, we have to click on the name of the Level, for example, Level 1 for it to open. Why?

On the other hand, other places, if I click on the Name, nothing happens! I have to go under the name then the same name appears, and it opens only goes to where I want, only if I click under it.
Inside the Base camp, when I open it there are Home, Tutorials and Resources and Check Compatibility, all very important at least at the beginning. So, I did click on the NAME : try it. Does not work. What works is going under the name and click on the same name in grey. Why?

Third example, was for me even more annoying at the beginning, and I am not sure I am the only one. Why do we have to advance one time with Arrows, go next page, go next page, and then suddenly with clicking on NEXT and NEXT and NEXT? Or, even in same cases, going down to find the rest of the points to answer? Is it so difficult to make all consistent? It must be. It seems our Pathways inherited some of these small annoying things from the people from whom TMI did buy the interface.
This is the one that did not let me finish my first ever project. I answered, then I clicked the arrow. No! We have to click on NEXT till all the small rounds are finished, all questions answered, and then click of course on the answers, chose points one to 5, then again the Next.

Yes, there is a Direction (white on blue) and if you see it and think asking directions it does explain you, but even that is for some confusing as it goes on the whole screen and some I met hesitated to click on it again so it does disappear. This one has to be "known" as till you do not answer to ALL self assessments (before and after studying the project and speaking) and save both your project is not considered finished by the Base Camp.

I do hope, with time, at least some of this (and a few other) user interface issues will be resolved. For the moment, just know that they are there and enjoy the projects. I do!

Next, I will have to give a speech about my Team work project. I did the team work, but then reading again the project, discovered that now I would have to speak about an aspect of team work from which I learned or enjoyed. That will be, when I can give it my next Pathways task.

21 Nov 2017

Managing Transitions

William Bridges wrote first "Transitions" : the changes in our own lives, we could not avoid.

Some do feel it fell upon them, some wanted it. Does not matter, he does show in his book: all have to go through three periods of the change.

We leave something, it is painful. Even when we are new parents, no more free time, no more quiet nights. Without understanding, we mourn the "old" one we were. Even more, when we did not want the new! We loose our job or a love. Something from our "older self" remains behind.

Any change begins with an Ending, Bridges proves. I had his book for a while, took it out and read it again when I begun Pathways. Understanding better my own life and stories. I wanted to tell a story of a certain Eastern, when my life as it was before changed, and understand all that happened around it.

Second, comes a period of transition. The wondering in the dessert. Uncertainty. A fog before us: where are we heading? Takes time. But when we are ready, as "all certain things are lost" great creativity can arise from it. That is the period we are now with Pathways, I believed. Third period is when we begin something new, it also comes with its own joys and problems too.

At this stage, I went online, and discovered he had a second book written many years after the first. He become change consultant in companies. In Managing Transition William Bridges describes years of his experience. What works for successful change, and what hinders it. His advices to companies are so important to understand. For us, in Toastmasters, now even more.

I suggest, all of you to read this book on Kindle or in book format: I have now both.

Each period is important: we can not escape them or jump ahead, if we want to succeed in end.

The most important things I took from it: Do not postpone to give out the information. Do not think "they will learn when time comes": inform, inform, and inform again. That assures a lot smoother, better transition. Never "too much or too early"!

Understand the concern of those mourning what they lost, what they will lose, they feel as if it was part of themselves. Understand their concerns. Use all those with experience and make them contribute, give them new roles, make them feel important, part of the process. Give them if needed new roles, to teach others, to feel again important.

So many wisdom from the book, can not be put in a few lines, but perhaps those are the essence.

Reading the book when I was at my last project of Level 1, Research, and was studying also Pathways in Transition in our clubs and education system, I suddenly understood what I could do. Make know, inform by many means. Informing, telling my own experience, helping others through the fog, the uncertainty, telling about my own path of wondering in the dessert. Of finding ways out of it. Finding, finally, my own "promised land". And getting a "vision" of my role in the process of our change.

20 Nov 2017

Pathways Discussion Forum

I believe, all of you knows already, the Pathways style Icebreaker is available free for everyone, Toastmasters or not, on the Toastmasters International website. Anyone can experience it, print it, save it. Share it. Discuss this Project, same for all Path. This morning, a wonderful storyteller wrote me all excited: my next story Thursday, will be from Pathways! Even if I am not yet "in" for now, at least till January, I begun! I begun!

Today, will be a month that this Facebook group, Pathways Discussion Forum was created. Already, 472 members and growing. Very useful interesting informations and discussions! From the first ever Pathways District Chief Guide, to Chief Guides just gathering their Guides and Ambassadors, to the Guides describing their work and the Base Camp Managers about how they go around, all the way to those who are wondering "what will be, how it will be, when it comes finally to us too?"

If you are not yet "in" the group, ask to join, by answering the question posed. 5 moderators ready to help and lots of interesting discussions. Useful discussions. Specific questions and details, too.

Here is for example, the last image added by Brent Smith: what in his Region already on Pathways his Pre-Charter club received, for it's members. Till they charter, they have the Navigator, printed and online. They have all this manuals where the Public Speaking Fundamentals contains 3 Projects for newcomers. Let me presume, but not have yet confirmation, equivalent to Level 1 in any path.

"As soon, as the club is chartered, they can continue on the web based Base camp their education".

As for me, waiting to see, will I be or not selected as Guide? Or will I continue as Ambassador? In my own District - the one I live in now - Pathways Education Program will arrive with the early spring. I have been Pathways Ambassador for more then 2 years now, but the real work will begin now, soon.

So happy, that I did now wait and went towards Pathways and discovered not only the Program but wonderful people along the way! And all the readers of this blog who give me so much joy.

19 Nov 2017

Mistaken identity, was it?

It was in November 2010, indeed, 7 years ago already. Prepared at first for those who lost their jobs, in the middle of the recession. I remembered the times when it happened to me. I remembered, that we are not defined by our title. I remembered that I could use the qualities I had to something so different, and even enjoy it a lot more.

There were desperate times for me, around 1980, when I had to leave Washington, DC where I worked for 3 years and hoped to stay forever. PhD Research Chemist, two children, for the first ever time, I had an apartment furnished with love, with old brick and brack I loved, friends and a social life. And, yes, Toastmasters helped to get a voice.

Back in France, I was told, "too old! woman and not born here".

Realising, after running from office to office, place to place to find a job, that it will be not easy not fast, and I needed fast to be able to have my son `14 at the time back with me, I knocked at a door, "Helping you find work" in a tiny museum. 

Before I have offered this story, I have assisted to a Toastmasters contest in Canary Wharf. A Bank director arrived impeccably dressed, and at the beginning of the speech, his pants fell, his coat and shirt disappeared: all begun to laugh and did not end till he finished. He remained in jogger suit, of course. 

I thought, this story about changing profession, let itself use the same: I took off my shirt. Laugh begun and did not stop till end. They laughed so much "why, when, how to make it happen again?" That was the starting point. That evening, a Standup Comedian, also telling a story told me "you are a natural" and gave me a card of the Comedy School. All started there, my life got another turn. 

I discovered, I like making audience laugh! I discovered at age 77, about a year later, after three Standup Comedy Workshops and two cataract operations, that I can make laugh! That everyone can learn the Craft of comedy, and with practice get results. "Develop comedian eyes". See the world around differently. Extract from all the funny.

17 Nov 2017

Focus on the Positive

Focus on the positive, is the project I have chosen in my Effective Coaching path.

We have one Required project, in the Effective Coaching: Reaching Consensus, which will take more time, so for the moment I concentrated on choosing then working on two Elective projects, on my level 3.

First Elective chosen by me this time, was Connect with Storytelling, prepared and delivered in London not far from where I live. It was a rather sad story, memories of same day in 1944, while hiding from Nazis, and trying to find a place to live. At the same time, we heard a funny very well told ghost tale, more easy to "get". So what?

As I am now all the way inside the Focus on Positiveinstead of telling that "I was not given time enough, or that my tale needed more in fact to explain to those not knowing the war, the holocaust, Hungary", and so on, I will turn it into positive. See bellow.

Wonderful! I printed two copies of my Evaluation 3 pages each. I gave one to our VP Education, who did found the club and was Evaluating me in public: he was awed by the fact that I can give it in any style! I heard it in his voice. He begins to catch my enthusiasm for it. Wonderful!

Great progress also with our President, who did tell the ghost tale so well, and after come to tell me it was grace to me pushing him to understand and tell personal stories, and learn how to tell them. He was the second whom I asked to give me feedback. He filled out, every bit of space, delighted to use the Pathways form, and when I told him "keep the third page" his eyes lighted up. Reluctant only three month ago about Pathways, he is now really warming up to it.

I am the third in our club, as Secretary, as future Pathways Base Camp manager, and will be able to help the club smooth go into Pathways Program from March, or even prepare them before. Was it not good idea to volunteer as Secretary last year? It was.

Those are the firsts I can thank for, be happy about.

I wanted to write my diary, day by day, of my positive and negative feelings, two weeks at least, as this project "Focus on the Positive" asks me. 

I had no more free notebooks, and I prefer to write longhand. Yes, I did order new ones, and waited and waited, but, finally, not too long. But I am impatient.

I thought perhaps I could find some free place in an old drawer that I did not open for long time, as its holder is broken. Broken! But I did manage to open it. This morning.

Ah! I found a lot of treasures in it.
What a luck! Just when I need them most.

Not only I found  four free notebooks, all empty for me to write in, and I can chose from more then one now, but also a lot of filled notebooks, about Story Telling, about Comedy, about the books I read and even stories from my life I can use in further projects and speeches.
Look! Four nice looking, almost like books to write in, at my choice, and yes, have already chosen one: the one with less pages.

Perhaps, I will continue writing my thoughts and feelings and how positive feelings and thinking impacts on my life, more then two weeks, minimum asked by the project, but well, not all the days from now on as with this blog... On the left of this picture, you can see all the filled in notebooks, through years in which I found material I can read again and use. In fact I begun writing and writing what I found about Story Telling and later from my Humour workshops, since 20 years ago!

I read a lot of books, every day read something. Wonderful! Now, I can read from myself! What I felt and what I thought. And be positive and happy; And even share some of what I found, this time here, online. I begun to understand, focusing on the Positive has its merit, indeed.

Before leaving today, last great news. Instead of telling you I will show you. Thanks giving? yes!

See? 21,000 page-views today! For in total 193 posts and of course, almost as many days. Meeting you my dear readers, visitors, is a daily joy for me as well as thinking about what my next post will say.

16 Nov 2017

I love blogging!

I really love blogging. Did love from the very first day, I discovered it, more then thirteen years ago.

At that time, blogspot was yet in its infancy and we had to learn the HTML codes to format the text. We could not add image directly from our disc and that is how I discovered Flickr, from where I learned so much over the years.

Hello world!

I am here, I have a voice I need to feel alive to speak to all of you. But, at the beginning, I wrote in French and did not dream even be read from far away.

Then come a young student from Japan learning French, and someone from Belgium, an older man from America! It grew slowly at the beginning but I could tell my tales. The first was that indeed there is life after we got 70. The second was to publish day by day also my diaries from age 10 to... 70. I stopped my Retro Blog when I arrived to age 70 with them, and stopped the Il y a de la vie après 70 ans, when I got 80.

Now a lot of Social Media exist. I used for some time Linkedin. I never liked twitter, too short for all I needed to express day after day. Mail? I use it often but mostly to communicate one by one; even for that nowadays I prefer video conference to see them.

Facebook took over a lot of my energy and I have many friends. But it is still not the same as blogging, and have all of you come to visit from all over the globe!
India! Russia! Malaysia, Canada on one end and Australia on the other. Some of course from UK I live even and, a lot from all over US. Those are only the most 7 from last month visitors. So many more! 

And finally, as I changed my comments back to blogger, I get comments and get an email each time so I can answer them, enjoy them. And yes, even in the Pathways Discussion group from Facebook, I get comments from those who visited it.

I can even know how the post "most visited" change. Last month this were those "most". Some, because the title, others because I published them also on Facebook different groups. Combining two Social media is better then only one of course.

Another reason, I spoke already is that I chose a Template that works on many different devices, without me worrying about it. And yes, last month iPhone readers jumped up!

I did try this morning: yes, one can access Pathways through iPhone and with eyeglass for me, even read what it is written. I am in awe of the technology, that from 1980 when I did begun, never stopped to rush and evolve. 

Even the Pathways user interface will evolve with time, I have all the confidence in it! For example when it says "you can access Evaluations through a dropdown on this page..." there will be an actual dropdown. For now, I did click on the word Evaluation, and it did work instead of dropdown. Do not give up. But I wanted an Evaluation Resource for a speech I have given a few month ago and now will in another path, and I was answered "you already downloaded this one!"

Solution? I had to go to my path, open my level and project: from there, I had no problem downloading it! Then, my printer got out of ink. So, finally I send it by email to VPE and the TM of evening, hoping some will print it or pass it to my evaluator whoever it will be.

Life online is an adventure, like is not a smooth quiet river, but we can deal with whatever does come and learn from it, and tell others.

15 Nov 2017

Evaluation remains important in Pathways

The club meeting does not change, we will continue to have the usual parts,
  • Prepared speeches (from our Path, Levels, Projects) 
  • Evaluation of those speeches (Verbal and written)
  • Table Topic part 
  • Evaluation of all with a role and not yet evaluated
Of course with the usual opening, closing, if needed business part and asking guests feedback.

In my opinion, the most change is how we prepare a speech. 
How much we spend in a project to learn. 
How much we can apply what we learned. 
      And yes, many times, not just once for this speech. 

We do not read the project to be able to make a speech in Pathways, at least I do it to discover, to learn something new: it is just an icing on the cake, many times. Other times, the speech is a demonstration that we did learn what the project did teach us (Voice Variety for example) and/or a research lead. 

It exist even a "Generic Evaluation Form" that can be used for any speech... I did not use it yet. But all the evaluation forms begin with this three General Comments.

For the second page you give points and add shorter comments
In the specific projects, one to three questions in plus are added, specific to the project

A third page explains the details of what is expected and meant by Clarity, Audience Awareness, etc. That third page, I offered a few times to an evaluator not yet in Pathways : they were so happy!

So much more to say about the evaluations, forms, how to find them, what to do with them. Just one more observation: they are for US and not for control. Base camp does not look or control them, as I did believe at the beginning. No one but us can see our private e-portofolio where we can upload them. 

Can anyone see our badges? 

Here are my badges today : yesterday I completed and was awarded the 4th Level 2... badge. Here the badges are in the order I got them, the last one first. Not long ago I finished the Presentation Mastery path, that is the "Proficient" for instead of Level 5. And look! My first ever badge Collaborative attributed to me by a Toastmaster I did help in need, at his beginnings. Or is it for more?

I am now on to go farther and in the third level of Effective Coaching path. Today, I will offer a speech from Connecting with Storytelling in my London club that I have to prepare also for a storytelling event. I will print the three pages of the Evaluation as I have no idea yet who will give me the feedback. 

Other new for Pathways we can request feedback and even written from more then one Toastmaster. Rare, but sometimes I did ask someone who did not give me an oral feedback, to write also one. And of course, my pal, my friend, often writes me long letters about my last delivery and content, too. Sometimes, explaining your intent, telling what and how could improve a story, explaining what is around but we did not say, can make us next time create a lot better one. 

I did learn a lot and I do like to learn, but I realised yesterday, again, how much more I still have to learn. I am grateful that I can learn through Pathways projects and their delivery and continue my journey in the huge Toastmasters tribe and community. 

I do not have all the answers, and today, I realised for example, that I did fill an Evaluation Form with a lot of pain and problem, then miraculously, the second was so easy to fill! It is too late now, but tomorrow I will have to try again: what caused this difference.

14 Nov 2017

At the beginnings: how my Vision developed?

We are in a huge Transition period in Toastmasters International, as I was when 25. I begun to study in my first level first path, Visionary Communication, the relationship between Pathways and Transition. Even as I finished the path, some of my achievable goals achieved, I did continue. Still do continue. My goal was and still is in every way I can: Help the Transition from Legacy program to Pathways. Make it easier, speak about it. Make my passion and knowledge known in any ways I can and that depend on me.

The first steps can influence what how we go farther, they did influence me as you will hear. But as this image and the saying is, every path can lead us to unexpected discoveries and roads.

"No one steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man." 

I still stand by this speech recorded some month ago, but would express it now differently. I am sure, you will be able to tell also, why did you got into and what did you find in itI mean the path you chose and into toastmasters.
Julie from Witty Storytellers Online, London and Brian Dodd from Royal Roads Victoria, BC in a discussion when he was the Toastmaster.

As we go through the Pathways program and our Toastmasters Journey we change. 

13 Nov 2017

Enjoy the journey! Poh Kim Siong does.

I woke up this morning, and looked through Facebook images and posts, then stopped. "Reflection on my journey" with a photo of one of the readers of this blog, Poh Kim Siong. 
Kim is also, as I  found out, one of the guides from Singapore who begun to work on it from June. Here is what Kim wrote, showed and told today in Facebook :

"Best Moments - Pathways learning journey is filled with excitement, interesting encounters and sharing experience with others.

The three lessons that I have benefited from it:

1) embracing the changes.
2) leading by example.
3) sharing the learning experience with others.

Together we can learn, grow and experience the Pathways programme.

You just need to take a first step to start."

And at the meeting, he did show a Competent Communication Manual, comparing the Legacy system with the new. Later, we got into contact and he told me then from time to time he was inspired by this blog. He also inspired me. 

I do love blogging, I do love sharing, I do lead by example, as he suggest. I try to embrace change each time possible, and for sure I did embrace Pathways Educational Experience that offered to me as I felt, almost a new life and new friends.

I do love blogging, and dreaming of all the places from where you all come to read this blog, now the visits are up and over 20 000. I love when you comment or write me, and was so happy with this note I got from Ping Lee :

Getting Proficient in two path, in seven month or eight, was a nice feeling, but so much more important to get new friends, to be able to inspire someone!

Yes, I am confident, but still, I do like to hear someone likes what and how I am writing. That makes me wake up with joy and plot the following post. "What will I be writing about now?"

In fact, these days, it is more difficult for me not to pick up more then one subject, and as I learned from Kim's blog, use only one theme at a time. I also decided, to put only three post on a page. When you go all the way down, to the third post bottom, the "Newer Post" and "Older post arrows appear, taking you to where, I hope, want to go. 

It does not tell you the titles, that is in the Archives and in the Most Visited posts only, but lets navigate.

I also switched to Blogger Comments: that leaves comments inside the blog, and not on Google +, where, let me admit, I do not go often. Google wants also to take over my photos, ask me what to do with a deleted one, and worst, capture - instead of Dropbox - all my screen dumps. For days I wondered "Where they had gone?" Now, I found them and I do not like, this change. Finally, today I found how to opt out of it. So, you see, I do not like all the changes. And yes, when we get the feeling that the change is pushed on us...

So that it is! We have to show that it is not pushed: it is offered. Show why and how it is better. Then more could embrace it, instead of being upset. Transition period managing is a delicate matter. Tomorrow, more about that subject.