DTM Requirements (Pathways): Guide to Be a Distinguished Toastmaster
Dear DTM-to-be, if you search online for the requirements to be a Distinguished Toastmaster, almost every site shows you this list:
- Complete two learning paths
- Serve as a club officer for 12 months
- Serve a complete one-year term as a district officer
- Serve successfully as a club mentor or coach
- Serve successfully as a club sponsor or conduct a Speechcraft or Youth Leadership program
- Complete the DTM project
That is all they show.
A very superficial list.
None of these sites go deep into what each requirement entails.
What exactly is a club mentor? Do you have to spend money as a club sponsor? What is counted as a district officer?
Not to mention, many of these sites are not updated. They show the requirements for the old Legacy education track (CC, ACS, ACG etc).
In this article, we will break down each requirement to be a DTM, update it for the new Pathways education program, and give some tips and guidance on how to achieve it.
Distinguished Toastmaster Requirements for Pathways
1. Complete 2 Learning Paths
This is the public speaking (or the educational) part of the Toastmasters program.
Each path consists of around 15 projects/speeches. If you speak once a week, you can complete this in 7.5 months.
Or 1 month if you give a speech everyday.
Do note that some leadership paths require you to organize events/observe tasks for a certain amount of time before you can complete it.
If you compare this to the old education program, this has fewer speeches needed (30 speeches vs 40 speeches + 2 presentations + 1 workshop).
2. Serve as a Club Officer for 12 months
A club officer is any of the club executive committee (exco) roles:
With the exception of the last role, you can run for any position during the club’s general election - as long as you are a member of the club.
Do note that even though Toastmasters International stated 12 months, you can split it into two 6-month terms. It does not need to be two consecutive 6 months, meaning you can be a club officer at different clubs across different years.
But you need to be ‘officially registered’ as a club officer in the Toastmasters database for it to count.
Some clubs, mine included, has 2 officers for certain roles, and even though they may be an officer for the entire year, they are ‘officially registered’ for only 6 months each.
In such cases, these officers would have to take on an officer role again.
3. Serve a Complete One-Year Term as a District Officer
Unlike the club officer roles, you’d have to be a district officer for the entire year (July to June) for it to count.
What are the district officer roles?
While there are many district officer roles, only these are counted towards your DTM requirement:
Usually, people start with the area council before moving up the organization and I would recommend starting as an Area Director as well.
4. Serve Successfully as a Club Mentor or Club Coach
What’s a club mentor or club coach? Aren’t they the same thing? What do they do?
A club coach is someone who helps to rebuild a club, or as I like to say, revive a dead club. This may happen due to a loss of leadership, members leaving, guests not coming etc.
More specifically, the club must have 12 or fewer individuals who have paid for membership at the time of the club coach’s appointment. Up to two coaches may be appointed to each club.
The appointment lasts till June of the current year if the club becomes a Distinguished Club (or better) by that date, or until June of the following year if the club did not receive the Distinguished Club recognition.
So, be careful, it may be a 2 year commitment if you did not do your job well. Or you can look at it as having 2 chances.
A club mentor, on the other hand, does not have a specific goal to hit.
As a mentor, your job is to advise, teach and guide a newly chartered club in every way possible - from membership to educational.
Your name, as a club mentor, must be submitted during the chartering of the new club, or no less than 60 days, after the club is chartered.
To be a mentor, you need to know how Toastmasters work, how to have quality meetings, how to recruit and maintain members, explain the education system, club officer roles and pretty much everything Toastmasters related.
Your job is to attend the meetings and provide insight and advice, not to take over the club exco.
In summary, a club coach helps to rebuild a dead club, while a mentor helps to grow a new club.
Unless you know of any clubs that will be chartered soon, your best bet is to find a struggling club to help rebuild.
5. Serve Successfully as a Club Sponsor or Conduct a Speechcraft or Youth Leadership Program
When I first heard of the term ‘club sponsor’, I thought that he’s the person who literally sponsors a club in the monetary sense.
Don’t worry, you can keep your money in your pocket as a club sponsor.
A club sponsor is simply responsible for chartering new clubs. Your job is to find new leads - be it a corporation or a community center - and propose to start a Toastmasters club in that organization.
Once you found a lead, you then have to prepare the demonstration meeting, and the first few meetings thereafter, and discuss the financial matters with the organization.
That includes finding appointment holders, enough members (20) to charter the club, publicize the meeting, picking the (temporary) club officers, and then finally launching the club.
Sounds like a lot to do, yet I know of a veteran Toastmaster who has sponsored 40 clubs in Singapore. 40!!!
Conduct a Speechcraft
A Speechcraft is a workshop, lasting from 4 to 6 to 8 sessions, designed to teach basic public speaking skills.
For non-members, it serves as an introduction to public speaking and Toastmasters.
For members, it serves as a refresher course on the principles of public speaking.
In a sense, it serves as a training workshop and membership recruitment tool.
To fulfill the DTM requirement, you have to be the main conductor of the Speechcraft Workshop.
Your job is to integrate the workshops into the club’s usual agenda, or to hold it outside your club meetings, to publicize the events, to find workshop trainers, to assign participants speaking opportunities, to decide and collect fees and to ensure a smooth workshop overall.
Of course, you can get members to assist you and this is a great chance for them to take on leadership roles and work on their communication skills as well.
Conduct a Youth Leadership Program (YLP)
The Youth Leadership Program is like a Speechcraft for students (under 18). It aims to introduce public speaking and leadership skills to youths.
It consists of 8 sessions, each 1 to 2 hours long, with a final presentation banquet at the end for the participant’s parents, friends and community leaders to allow the kids to demonstrate what they have learnt.
The sessions are conducted similar to a Toastmasters meeting, which involves prepared and impromptu speeches (table topics) and evaluation. The trick here is to make it fun so that kids won’t get bored.
Unlike a Speechcraft, the YLP is free for participants and is sponsored by the conductor’s Toastmasters club.
A standard class size is 20, with a maximum of 25 participants. To get participants, either get your club members to bring their children, talk to a school, or a youth organization (scouts, rotary club etc).
The conductor requires a team of assistants, but only the main conductor of the program gets the credit towards DTM.
I thought this is a great initiative to develop the next generation and their communication skills, especially in the digital age where many kids don’t know how to communicate properly anymore.
6. Complete the DTM Project
The DTM Project is only unlocked after you complete the following:
- Level 5 of your first path
- Level 3 of your second, different path
Once members complete Level 3 of their second path in Pathways, they will need to email email@example.com and the project will be added to their transcript.
Here is the overview of the DTM Project:
- Plan and complete a project that benefits an organization.
- You may choose to revisit any previous Toastmasters Pathways project that contains information to help you complete your project.
- Develop a team and design a plan.
- Deliver a 5- to 7-minute speech at a club meeting to share your plan.
- Organize the project and lead your team to complete it.
- Ask members of your team, the organization, and a peer to complete a 360° evaluation of your leadership skills.
- Deliver an 8- to 10-minute speech at a club meeting to review your project, its outcomes, benefits, and the lessons you learned.
The Distinguished Toastmaster Project is designed for you to review the contents of all Level 5 Projects and to apply them by creating a large project of your own design.
The DTM Project must benefit an organization. It can be your Toastmasters club, your company, a community club, an association, a service club or any organization you believe in.
Even though it is not recommended to use projects and roles that are pre-defined by Toastmasters International, you can.
In the official Toastmasters guidelines, the example given is that if you are the Vice President of Education of your club, you can chair an Education Committee to improve club meetings, build membership or develop a stronger rapport in your community.
What is interesting to me is that TI didn’t set a timeline for the project. Does this mean that it could be a one day project?
I have not “unlocked” the project yet, so I do not know.
As you can see, only a small portion of the requirements is about your speaking skills. The majority helps you to be a better leader. It is no wonder the tagline for Toastmasters is “Where Leaders are Made”.