Friday, 28 July 2017

How to receive and give feedback; Pathways way?

Of course, from the first day back in 1905, in the YMCI basement, Ralph Smedley brought the pear criticism to what he called "Toastmasters" to the young boys needing to learn to communicate.

"By speech ten, you develop a thick skin" to what you hear, and learn to take the critic sayings, use them as you need to improve." I quote from head so it is not world to word. True, with time we learn.

The criticism, called "evaluation" not even "feedback" through board decision, later, could be given in different ways. Ralph wrote a book about it, and insisted clubs should change every three month how they do it, not enter in a same same again. It could be done by round robin, or only one critic, or the GE can assign to each who gives feedback to look at something different: one for beginning and ends, other for voice, third for body language, and so on, for all the speeches given that night.

Pathways, following Ralph Smedley's tradition gives a renewed importance to Evaluation (giving and receiving it).

After the Icebreaker, the next project "Evaluation and Feedback" has three parts:

1. Give a speech, any speech. Listen carefully to the feedback. Feedback spoken during the meeting, feedback given after in the break, feedback by mentor, feedback by fellow toastmasters and, yes, even your own feedback as looking back. Take it as it comes, then reflect to it.

- in the July number of Toastmasters Magazine, there is even an article on how to chose from Facts to Feelings, or personal bias, let the emotion wave go down, then take what needed from the feedback.

So true! I got a feedback a month ago "you do not look in the eye, when you stay on feet" from an evaluator who never looked up to me from his reading while I spoke, online, the first ever time on my feet, to be able to move more.

I was really angry. At first. Then I tried to find a way to have my eye in right level even when I stood up. Difficult.

When I received another advice, 'stay up to show more movement that would improve your story" wrapped up in great things about my story, I finally decided to find a way, and put my laptop on two baskets when needed.

So belated, but critic absorbed.

2. Give the same speech using the conclusions from the feedback, or a different using it, in another occasion. I still have to give my standing speech, but I am ready for it now. And I did repeat many of my stories more then once, but now, I try to give as many as possible at least twice.

In fact, any professional, repeats and improves many time, beside tailoring it to the audience and to the occasion. Our own feedback, the feedback from audience, the feedback from our critics count. With time, we learn to appreciate them and cherish them as they help us improve our texts and our delivery, our connection to our audience.

3. Offer a feedback. Offer it in a way that it can be used to improve the next time, to someone. When we understand how useful it can be, we give evaluations not only to give a good speech on the speech we just heard and seen and felt, but also to help improve. Give confidence, yes, but also look at what constructive advice we could give.

It also tells the Evaluator to look and listen! Too many are absorbed by what they write down and disappoint the speaker by not apparently looking at them. Some can multitask, but when the speaker looks at you, it is better to be able to nod, or look back in the eye at least.

If you are advanced, give it to a beginner, and do not tell "everything" just one that can be changed for the next delivery. If you are beginner, give your feelings and observation to someone advanced, he  is more used to take whatever you do tell.

So in Level 1 of pathways, we learn already the huge importance of giving and taking feedback. We do not have to wait to be "on Pathways" to use these! We all can begin with it today. Many clubs, many members do so already, did for long time. Why not begin it TODAY ?

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Evaluations? Where to find them? Where to put once filled?

Yesterday, someone told me: "I can not find any more from where to TAKE the Evaluation sheets to give to those who offer feedback to me!"

Well here is the answer to him.

When we enter Base Camp, we find first the square of Navigating Base Camp, we look around first. Perhaps.

The second square is "My Education Transcript" where we spend most our times! Strange name for our Levels and Projects and...

Then comes "My feedback" as I understood place to chat, did not really use it much in four month.
Then comes "My badges" that in my opinion are not very important either, can be opened differently.

The last square, sitting there quietly is "Speech Evaluations" :  a treasure! Inside you can find, the "Evaluation resources" as they are called, in alphabetical order, for ALL the project on all the path, not only yours. So you can take them and send it to your Evaluator, who can fill it online and send back. Or you can print it and give it to one, in a meeting. I prefer before, whenever possible.

One can also find there an evaluation form for someone who give a speech from a different path or level you are not yet on. There is even a Generic Evaluation form applying to any speech probably. Other then the general three questions, always same and the generic points about Eye Contact, Body Movement, Audience Awareness, etc, many projects evaluations add three (or more or less) different points which ask specific questions depending on the project, to help to evaluate them.

Once in Base Camp, you can open, save, print, any of those Evaluation Forms, I did at my first month, many, later I had difficulty finding them in my own folders on my disk: but in the Speech Evaluation Square, they are all in alphabetical order!

Once the form is filled in, name evaluator date speech title, and all the rest, and you get it back, filled manually or electronically, where do we put it?

Not back from where it came! So where?

Inside the Education Transcript, at left is info about me.  Can be accessed even from round button right Info of me.

The last item is my E-portofolio folder. In our E-portofolio are My Documents and My Badges.

So open My Documents, and you find folders for all the Levels. Open a Level, the one you are now on, and add there the completed evaluation form, so the VPE also can see if needed.

Here are how my level 2 folder looks.
I learned now, that there is only one LEVEL 2 folder we can use, so far, so we have to add before adding to it our filled evaluations also the names, or initials of our Path.

My first path was Visionary Communication, and I did not add VC as I did not know. From now on, I add PM to my Presentation Mastery Path's level 1, level 2 feedbacks, I got.

Here are the folders in the E-portofolio, easy to understand once you got there of course.
you can find them of course in a folder called "my documents" even if, inside it there is another folder "my documents" as I see now, where I put things not directly related to the levels.

As Secretary, I become also a Base Camp Manager. Even if in our club the job is done by VPE, I peaked in to understand how it is done. First, one has easy access to the general club's advancement, with the path names, and levels. Then, also to people's names and path, and finally, one by one can so and see their "transcripts" how they stand with their projects. Lot of work, but the info is available.

It seems equivalent to a VPE signing your last page in a manual. Most of time, nowadays, VPE will ask: give me the Manual's project Dates and Titles so I can add them to the TMI Club Central... when you have confidence in the member of course. Why not? Each of us learn for ourselves!

Yes! And I wrote that you can find Badges also elsewhere! Where are they in two places? Anyway, in this Documents folder you find all your Level folders you see above.

This is a very technical note, not so much as my other ones, but I hope, if someone really needs it, it can come, understand, find what is needed, and from then on, send, receive then file the filled feedback. 

Good news! You can ask in Pathways more then one Evaluation! And add the Feedback you like best, or all of them to your folders, levels, documents inside your E-portofolio. 

While the first time, it does not seem intuitive, from where you take the documents needed and where, different place altogether you save them, as with all, one done, twice done, third time it comes "of course!" and one does not even wonder why they are in different places... They are there, you can take out from your folders, you can add to them. They are yours! (Even if visible at need to VPE)

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

There are many tutorials I did not see !

Are those tutorials new or where they there and I just did not look?

When in Base Camp, the first big box is Navigator, and in it there are many different tutorials, videos.

In fact, you have to click on one of the titles to see what is under it. That is how I found this video "Completing a Project"


It does tell you that in order to complete any project, you have to click in all the Assess your skills before, save it then when the project is completed and the speech given, Assess your skills AFTER, click on all the questions one by one answer and save the results. You will then be given on before and after comparison, and the next screen will tell you:
"Congratulation! You have completed this project"
But it is not finished. It is asked you to answer also to Evaluate this project, how you liked it. And that question is open to you only for the next ten days. So why not finish it the same day? 

We do advance, Project by project. In most cases, three projects by level, also I feel 5 task in level1

When a Level is finished, you mark it completed, you have then have to wait till your level is approved by VP (or another of the Base Camp Managers) after which, you can print your Level Certificate. The VP has not only to approve your level in the Base Camp, but also report it completed in the Club Central at the TMI website, as for the moment they are not connected. Only name and level is necessary (and I suppose the Path), then is only when your name will appear, with some delay, in the Dashboard's Education Awards as finished level with its Pathname beside it.

From now on, if someone is on pathways and does not know how to signal "completed a project" I will be able to direct him to this very good video. 

So many more treasures to discover, day after day! 

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Incorporating feedback in the next speech: eye level

For the last two years, I participated to online club meetings, sitting down. The problems of "eye level" was resolved with three big photo books on which I put my laptop.

Remained a good light, not yet 100% resolved. Then I realised, who I dress, the colour of my shirt has also an impact.

Finally, I concluded, with my wait hair, black is best then light colours.

Then I begun my Pathways journey, with Feedbacks I had really to incorporate in my next storytelling. Brian told me "try to stay up"! And I tried, did. Here is one of my first one, speaking standing up.

Indeed, one can see a lot more of my gestures, my posture (aie!) and my hand and arm movements.

Next feedback I got "you are not looking us into the eye". How to put my laptop so it is eye level when I am standing. And fast enough, then put it down again as I sit near it?

My grand-son come with the idea "Mamie, put it into books, and let us slide the table farther from the wall, ok?"

The books where ok, heavy books and the level great also. I feared a little for the table, not so solid the one I use, to bend if I put the books at the end.

Come then Patricia, bringing me three light nice baskets, on which I can put my computer now.

Here is the basket solution: it does work! Wonderful!

I just have now to find a meeting and my next speech, where I have to show body language, for level 2 of Presentation Mastery path, I am ready!

I will tell my story of how my body language evolved during the last years because of Toastmasters, a funny story, first on-line then in my club near me "on the land".

Those baskets two for the moment and three slim books, are ready for it. Did not need my third basket. Unless, some tell me after I tell my story something else I have to change.

Do I really think of my body or voice when I tell a story? Not really. I try to be in the moment, feel what I felt then, but also let play free with the text and with the audience as it comes.

That is why I always need an audience "listener" even online. A story needs to whom to tell not only the story and the teller.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Log Out? How? Where it is?

I understood from the beginning that it is very important to learn how to login to the TMI website. With the email address that the club you belong used to declare you as member.
Attention! If the email address comes from a company and you no more work there, ask your club VPE or President or Secretary to change your email. Essential. 
I have the same email from 10 years now, so that was not a problem, and I changed also my Name/Password to remember them easy, in fact now my computers remember it no more me.

Every time I go to read something on pathways path, at the end I should also log-out. How? In all the 4 month, I did not find it, and just let log out by itself, or closed the browser tab. Not elegant at all!

Where IS the Logout? Where is the logout? Today, I found it!
I found it under "my account" after month in pathways I finally found how to LOG OUT!

It is worth helping someone!

"Where are those roles declared I was asked."

"One has to go, strangely, to that right corner round to find "My account" and there, declare the last roles you did, with the date - last date - before you finish level 3.

There are in "my account" - a bit strange place. But indeed, "my account" can be found from Base Camp entrance or can be found also from a project you are just doing, as me in the image before, on the Effective Coaching path."

Once inside your Account, you find the image, if you added and the Base club name, some settings as the Time Zone, the Signature.

That is normal. You can change them through the Preferences at left.

Then suddenly, you see the roles you have taken in your clubs, and different dates for the last time you had the role.

The club meetings do not change with Pathways, you still have the same roles and meetings with Toastmaster of the Meeting, Speakers and Evaluators, Table Topics and General Evaluator.

When you arrive at end of level 3, you have to have been at least once: Evaluator (level 1 project) but also Toastmaster, Table Topic Master, and now, even once be General Evaluator as I heard. That last was added lately.

I am not sure where AhCounter and Grammarian will be asked for me, but it is best to take all roles, at least once. You can write in this program only the DATE of the last time you had that specific role.

From now on, I will be able to LOG OUT properly. Every time. I know, where to find it!

Sunday, 23 July 2017

What I am happier about?

 What I am happier about? That I got just now 6700 hits to this blog?

Thank you!
Or that I can print the Level 4 Certificate? the first one! even if it is due partly to my level 3 elective

And it will be of course some time, before I can finish level 5 as my "vision" is far reaching. But if all goes well, I can finish the level 1 (in fact I did Monday) of Presentation Mastery and soon the level 2 also, even if it will take some time to have it recognised. With Printed copy it seems to take a lot longer.

When my level 2 is accepted and given for Presentation Mastery, I will be send the level 3 Printed Manual. Still to figure out, why all does not work yet as it is supposed as it is written in the manual. All takes time. So it will arrive too. But who said I am patient? not me.

Why can I go fast on my paths? Not only I am now in six clubs I can speak, but other clubs, like Buddies online from California, Emperor Online from Manila, Witty Birds from Uzbekistan, invite me to speak or to have roles. I meet there some I know and a few new wonderful Toastmasters, from so many parts of the World!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

How different is a Pathways project from an old one?

  • Body Language : we can find it also at Competent Communication project 5
  • We can find it between the Selective projects on Level 3 of all path
  • Level 2 of my Presentation Mastery path, instead of the "Your Leadership style" : my next task
The project explains more in details about different aspects of body language.
We used to have a special manual about Body Language free when we joined.
This pathways project has a video showing differences, good and bad posture, how our movements affect the audience and what they mean, then a head expression quiz, but in essence ask the same for us. The two things in emphasises at the end (look at the image here) are Purposeful Movements and Unintentional Movements. As in Pathways, there is also a point on the content's interest to the Evaluator or/and Audience.
Before all this points, is one for clarity one for voice variety I could not fit in the image.
At the end of the project we do realise of course that our body language is complex and it matters. 

As usual, it is suggested "go find out more, read more" and I did find a book dedicated to Body language, who had complementary suggestions, going further into Face expressions which become even more important now as "online" we see the face bigger better clearer. 

Real smile, how to detect fake smile, how pupils dilate or begin small, many other signals we could detect just looking on a face, eyes, not just nods or unhappy or bored expressions. 

I feel, that once we start doing research on every subject project in Pathways, we get richer! And reading all that it occurred to me that I could give a funny speech, showing some things I did or see other do, even if it is NOT asked from us to speak about body language. And I have already my spot in my club near me, for beginning of August, so I will be able to deliver it easy before all. 

Perhaps, the second time around, I can deliver a similar speech mostly about head and how to listen, in one of my online toastmasters club: it could be fun!