For most people, public speaking lies in the intersection of something that is important, scary, and difficult to practice. What Toastmasters does is allow one to practice in a safe environment, thereby allowing one to become a more effective, dynamic speaker. If your goals require the help of other people to accomplish, or if you have some ideas that are worth sharing, it is a worthy investment, and one of the best values per dollar of training budget I’ve seen. Aside from the practice speaking, it also provides good practice listening, which is probably more important than being heard if you want to build collaboration. The higher up in an organization you get, the more important communication becomes, and the less important the original skill becomes. Moving from a factory worker to a foreman still requires the skills of the factory worker, but they are compounded by the needs to communicate how to safely work in the factory to new workers, and to listen to the new worker to understand where they need help or more training.
About two years ago, I joined a local Toastmasters group with my wife. I did this because my wife, who is from South America, wanted another way to work on her English speaking skills and I wanted to work on my presentation skills. The first time I spoke, I said ‘uhhh…’ six times in one minute. (My wife, for the record, only said it twice). Two years later, I’ll be assuming the role of President of the club.