Thanks for Sallie Bright's article on Toastmasters. I've been a member of this organization for 37 years, in four states and three countries. Most people initially join to overcome their fear of public speaking or give better speeches, but I have found it offers a whole lot more.
Toastmasters' motto is "Better listening, thinking and speaking." A vital benefit of Toastmasters is that we learn to listen, then process that information, before we speak. We learn to organize our thoughts, which helps us organize every aspect of our lives.
Toastmasters helps us become more effective listeners through evaluation. Not the same as "constructive" criticism, which implies "judgment" rather than opinion. As evaluators, we hone our abilities to listen and observe, and express our opinions in a positive, supportive way. That transfers to the quality of our communication with everyone in our lives. Through receiving evaluation, we see ourselves as others see us, and learn in what ways we're already effective.