Toastmasters International has introduced a new educational program entitled “Pathways”. It is designed to fit in more with the way people learn and work by choosing a new path instead of following the old manuals.
Those who have been using the old or Legacy program for years are having some difficulty with the new program, while those who are younger and have been raised with computers are finding it much easier.
I recently embarked on my path “Building A Social Media Presence”. For this path I have been learning more about social media both for myself and for some of my clubs, as I am the Public Relations VP. For the club I am looking at marketing online – Twitter, Instagram (haven’t figured this one out yet), Facebook, website, newspapers, radio/TV, brochures, newspapers and presentations (podcasts – still to come). I have also been looking into Linked-In and learning about new ways to use it to build an online presence.
Hashtags have always been a bit confusing for me, but I am learning how to use them. I understand that they are most popular on Instagram. Twitter has increased its character limit from 140 to 280 (just look at how well Donald Trump has mastered this.)
So what is the purpose of social media? To drive traffic to your website where you have prepared content that is valuable to your audience. Perhaps to eventually put an offer in front of them that they will also find valuable. For instance with Toastmasters, the offer may be to come for 2 or 3 free visits before signing up. Finding out how valuable the program is before finding out the costs (which are really much more affordable than many people think.)
Many people assume that the program must cost thousands of dollars for the value that is provided – weekly meetings, opportunities to practice speaking, social activities, leadership opportunities and more, but that is not true. In actual fact the cost of membership is less than $200 per year. That is less expensive than many of the one day trainings offered by some companies.
One of the really interesting things about the Pathways program is that the speeches are about what you learned. For instance for my project, “The purpose of this project is to apply your understanding of social media to enhance an established or new social media presence. Deliver a 5-7 minute speech about your results, experience, and the benefits of social media.”
I will be presenting my speech next week at one of my local clubs.
P.S. For more information on the Toastmasters Pathways program go here: https://www.toastmasters.org/pathways-overview