🎭 Toastmasters Table Topics Lightning Round
Join host Brooke Kumar (VP, Membership for Cloudflare Toastmasters) with special Toastmasters members Sophie Breider, Zanoni Harris, Abhi Das, and Karl Henrik Smith for a special Talent Week event: ⚡️ Toastmasters Table Topics Lightning Round ⚡️!
This 30 minute Toastmasters Table Topics activity will demonstrate how much you can learn and grow by joining the Toastmasters club. Table Topics allows participants to think on their feet and receive constructive critique based on how they answer a set of questions they don't know in advance.
Hello, everyone. We are here with the Toastmasters Club from Cloudflare. I want to give a big welcome to everyone on the call.
Myself, Brooke Kumar. We also have Zanoni Harris, Karl Henrik Smith, Sophie Breider and Abhi Das.
Thank you guys for joining us today.
We have a 30 minute lightning round for Toastmasters Table Topics, and we're going to show you guys how we do table topics every week at our awesome club.
And to kick us off, we're going to do some introductions. My name is Brooke Kumar.
I am on the infrastructure team. I do commercial and partner relationships, and I've been in Toastmasters for four months with Cloudflare.
And the biggest lesson learned that I had was that I got a little bit more confident with being in front of the screen and I got to know other people at Cloudflare and I really enjoyed myself.
So Zanoni, I'm going to hand it off to you for your introduction.
Thanks, Brooke. My name is Zanoni and I'm an IT operations manager here at Cloudflare.
I've been with Toastmasters for about a year now, and the biggest thing for me is really getting more confident about speaking, whether that's in front of a lot of people or in front of one person.
So, you know, I've really, really helped me tackle that and meeting other people here at Cloudflare that have similar interests.
So I'm really happy to be here and I will hand it over to Sophie.
Thanks, Zanoni. And thanks, Brooke, for putting this on. Really excited to be part of this.
So my name is Sophie Brider and I lead sales enablement for the Americas at Cloudflare.
I've been a member of Toastmasters on and off for about 16 months.
And the biggest lesson or the most prominent lesson I've learned being a part of the club is that it's really all about practice.
There is no way to become a better public speaker without just putting yourself on the spot and trying with a team.
I'm also the grammarian today. I'll hold that for a minute, but I will introduce Karl Henrich next.
Sophie, my name is Karl Henrich. I have been part of Toastmasters for just about two years ever since I joined Cloudflare.
I'm on the sales enablement team in San Francisco with Sophie. And Toastmasters has really been helpful for me and just learning how to have a normal human conversation over the phone, which is kind of an important thing in sales, kind of in a very informal way, getting to know people and having more of a laid back, laid back tone.
So looking forward to today. I'm also the AH counter. We'll get to that, I think.
And I'll hand it over to Abhi. Thanks, Karl. Hi, everyone. I'm Abhi Das.
I'm part of the strategic partnerships team, and I've been part of Toastmasters for about a month.
The biggest thing that I learned and learning in Toastmasters is to be able to watch others and kind of learn from their you know, gestures, pauses.
You interact all the time with other people, but they don't really kind of you don't really focus on that part.
But I feel like Toastmasters specifically focusing on the speeches.
So, you know, just a reminder to everyone watching with us today or in any rewatches, currently Toastmasters is meeting once a week.
And we are really excited that hopefully this will get some other team members to join as well.
I myself am an officer on the Toastmasters club, and I know that Karl and Zanoni are also officers and we're always looking for more participation or just regular members joining.
Contact myself or anyone else on the call today for an invite, and we'll we'll look forward to meeting more in 2021.
So for table topics, I'm going to go over some of our rules and we'll we'll go into kind of who is responsible for some of the roles within this.
And then we'll jump into our lightning round, which will be three questions for table topics.
And we're looking forward for it. So as we as we go into table topics, you know, taking on this role and being being a part of this, it improves confidence and impromptu speaking skills.
So table topics is a longstanding Toastmasters tradition intended to help members develop their ability to organize their thoughts quickly and respond to an impromptu question or topic.
Today, we have three of those impromptu questions, and it typically is after we do prepared speeches.
And at that time, that's everyone's opportunity during the club to bring a speech that they may be doing for all hands meetings or within their team.
It's a it's a great opportunity just for everyone to get some participation in addition to listening to those speeches.
Moving on, the Toastmaster will introduce a topics master.
Today, we're doing a lightning round. So things are a little bit different.
But if you guys join the the club, you guys will see it in full force.
And basically, they'll give just a brief description of the table topics and then call on respondents at random, which is something that we're doing live today.
Very exciting. And your response should reflect your honest thoughts clearly and successfully lasting no more than two minutes.
So that's what we're sticking to today.
I'll introduce all of our roles for today. I myself am topics master.
I'm the host of today's meeting. And I'm also the Toastmaster slash topics master.
And the topic for today is animals, specifically any pets that you guys have at home.
And we love to hear about pets here at Cloudflare. And Toastmasters is no different.
For our ums and ahs counter, we have Carl. For our timer, we have Zanoni.
For our grammarian, we have Sophie. And our evaluator today is Abhi.
Sophie, do you want to share the grammarian term of the day? Yes, thank you, Brooke.
So as grammarian, I am intended to keep an eye out for any use of the word of the day.
Today, the word of the day is adept, which is defined as very skilled or proficient.
And using the word adept in a sentence, you could say, Abhi is adept at evaluating our speeches, which means he is very skilled or proficient at evaluating.
So in addition to keeping an eye out for usage of that word, I'll also keep a note and usage of interesting articles or combinations of speech.
So we're a little bit ahead of schedule today, so we may have an extra couple of minutes in one of our questions for an extra person to jump in.
And I I'm sure that we're all ready to jump in today.
Very exciting. Our first table topics question is, do you think owning a pet makes one more responsible and why?
Again, the question is, do you think owning a pet makes one more responsible and why?
I'm happy to try out this question. So getting started with the disclaimer here that I have actually never owned a pet full time, with the exception of taking care of one of my co-workers puppies for a weekend.
I will pull on my experience there and talk a bit about how that shaped me as a person and just more generally what that experience was like.
So one of my co-workers on the sales team owns a Golden Doodle and was out for the weekend in San Diego for about three days.
And during that time, I agreed in large part, not understanding the implications of what having a small three month puppy at home would entail to take care of of his dog.
And during that time, I learned that puppies require a pretty frequent kind of outdoor time.
And given that we are also in lockdown mode and have been in lockdown mode now for quite a while, I was in a state of having to take out this little dog about eight times a day, starting at six, six thirty in the morning and ending at nine or 10 p.m.
at night. And typically those are not my my own walking hours.
I had to kind of conform my own schedule around this puppy, but he was absolutely adorable dog.
And I think I became a bit more adept in my parenting skills as a result of that.
Definitely something that took a lot of learning, a lot of engagement and a lot of patience.
And I think patience is the key word here for any actual full time dog or cat owners or whatever animal you might own at home or take care of.
I think patience is the key virtue. So certainly patience is one of the main things I've learned during that time and trying to stay engaged and playful while also remaining very disciplinarian when it makes sense is kind of a tough balancing act, but definitely one that you need to strike, not only with your pets, but also with your your own kids.
So that was a learning experience for sure.
Great story, Carl. I can relate on that. Does anyone else want to jump in on this one?
I can quickly add on a few points. I can share my experience getting my puppy.
She's two and a half years old today. Her name is Pearl. We got her when she is like three months old and she's she's four pounds dog and she'll remain four pounds for the rest of her life.
So you can imagine the energy that she has in household.
But I definitely feel that getting Pearl made me more responsible because if I don't walk her, if I don't feed her, she's not going to get fed.
She's not going to get walk.
It's just always in the back of my mind. I try to find my schedule and figure out the timings.
But in a way, she helps me. I help her.
She helps me. My stress level down gets my walk every day. So it's going to give and take relationship.
But yeah, to answer your question, it definitely made me more responsible and caring.
Yeah. Thanks, Avi.
Since we're a little bit ahead of schedule, I'm going to ask if anyone else wants to jump in on this one.
Third person. Awesome, Zanoni. Thank you. No problem.
I love this question. I've I haven't owned any pets. I don't have any pets that I own today.
But over, you know, growing up, I've been you know, there's been pets that have been part of the family.
And so I can think of two things that really kind of make owning a pet makes you a better person is one is everyone else is really kind of talked about and touched on is, you know, it gives you a sense of responsibility, accountability for someone other than yourself.
And two, I believe having having a pet, having someone or, you know, someone that you have to take care of that isn't you, you feed, keep secure, makes you a better person all around as far as, you know, making sure that this other life life form that you have under your protection and guidance is taken care of.
So, you know, responsibility and and being able to to take care of and have ownership of the things other than, you know, what you have to do for yourself is is really makes you a stronger person, I believe.
Thanks. Yeah, that's the best. I think I think there's so much fun.
So I am going to jump into question two. Our second question is, according to a source, technically in Switzerland, you must own more than one guinea pig.
Do you think you should be required to own more than one pet?
And why? This doesn't need to be the same pet, but it can be. Maybe there's an interspecies buddy system going on.
And I'm happy to jump in on this one right away.
I am just also going to make sure that my timer is going. And so I was the owner of one guinea pig.
And the reason why I chose this question was because it really resonated with me that when I bought one guinea pig, it needed a little friend.
And when I bought the second guinea pig, it was after some time. I think I had had the first guinea pig for maybe.
Six months to eight months, so the the first guinea pig was pretty adult at that point, and then when I bought the second guinea pig, it was young and they would fight night and day to the death.
It was so scary to listen to them fight. But, you know, they kind of kept each other entertained.
And so I think maybe they were having a good time.
But it definitely went to show me that I was not alone. And I think it also showed me that having the one, she was very, very chill and didn't really do much.
And I think that, you know, having the other guinea pig there helped her be more happy and energetic.
And when I eventually graduated from having guinea pigs to having a dog, it became very clear that he really likes, you know, having that extra time with other dogs and not so much cats, but definitely dogs to play and have a good time.
And it became very clear that, yes, you know, even animals need buddies, too.
I'm going to stop there. Anyone else have a response to this again?
I get the question. Oh, sorry. Sorry, go ahead. Oh, again, the question is, according to a source techly in Switzerland, you must own more than one guinea pig.
Do you think it should be required to own more than one pet and why?
Great. So I'll take my lead from your answer here, Brooke, and inspiration from what other folks have contributed around general pet ownership, admitting that I myself do not own a pet like Zanoni.
I have had a number of pets in my family growing up.
We had dogs, we had cats, we had hamsters, we had fish. We had a pony at one time and we had birds and critters coming in and out.
That may have inspired my current lack of ownership of a pet.
Not that I don't love them, but I don't currently feel particularly adept in the keeping of one.
So I have not taken one on myself.
And in the spirit of that, I would say if you do choose to own one pet, it should not be required that you own two or more than one in that while one pet does, certainly one or multiple pets may inspire in a human individual a newfound responsibility or sense of ownership and alliance with a creature.
I think based on the responses I've heard, it seems relatively not draining per se, but it could be difficult to take on the ownership of a pet and change your personal schedule, how you operate your own life and the demands of having one pet.
Well, certainly Noble, I think, could take time and energy from a person that might leave.
A an absence of leftover energy to deposit and spend on the second, third, fourth, fifth pet.
So while I believe owning the one is is certainly a great way to inspire more responsibility and exemplify the energy and love you have for others.
I think the requirement to take on more than one could be rather draining and pose a threat to the energy you're able to deliver to the first.
Very well put, Sophie.
We can take one more response here.
Maybe Abhi or Karl or Zanoni? Not much to add, I think the response was pretty good.
Just one fun fact. I got Pearl when she was three months old.
And we, as others were mentioning, that they really need attention and, you know, to be able to spend time with them.
And that was kind of finding challenging at some point.
But but then we had a baby and then they play amongst each other.
So that's sort of that's sort of, in a way, worked out together.
But I definitely agree. Having a companion for them is very necessary because we are all busy working hours and that's that kind of plays out.
That sounds very adorable and fun, a four pound dog and a baby.
I like to hear that. Thanks for sharing, guys.
So jumping into our third question, and we are a little bit ahead of schedule.
That's OK, though. What is your ideal pet as a professional if you had to own one?
And I know that we've already had a few responses that being a professional and owning a pet is difficult.
But if you had to own a pet, what would it be?
I'll jump in with the cuteness that I think turtles absolutely encapsulate.
Just from a very basic standpoint, on the one hand, if you were to think or Google what animals do not get lost or run away from you, turtles would probably be at the top of the list.
They're very easy to keep track of. They have a permanent home, not only with you as a loving turtle owner, but with their shell that they can constantly retreat in should they choose to do so.
And in the end of the day, they're very, very, very inspiring kind of day to day symbol.
If you've all read Tortoise and the Hare and that story kind of slow and steady wins the race.
Just think of it in that way.
You know, whenever you want to call your turtle, you look at it every day when you wake up in the morning and you say, I'm going to win long term.
If you just set your mind to anything, you can do it. Right. Same thing in sales.
It's not a marathon. It's a sprint. So sorry. Opposite. Not a sprint. It's a marathon.
Forget, forget, forget I said that anyway. So turtle, 100 percent. Not only because they are cute as heck, but they are a symbol of success and the great things to come.
I love that, Carl, thanks for sharing. And Sophie, I think we all peeped your your cat over there.
Very sweet. I'm also going to look for another participant on this one.
Zanoni, I'm going to volunteer you.
All right. Thanks, Brooke. No, I think this is a great question.
And owning a pet is a very personal choice, in my opinion, whether you are a professional or nonprofessional.
I don't know how that kind of relates to what type of pet you pick.
But in my case, I would most likely get a dog, a dog for me.
Not that I'm opposed to any other pets like turtles or or cats. I think they're all great.
And but, you know, I think it's based on someone's lifestyle. So, you know, a dog really meshes well with with my lifestyle.
I like to hike. I like to go on on trips, you know, having and I just imagine my dog sitting in the passenger seat next to me with the window down a little bit so that they can stick their head out and, you know, and get the air and enjoy being out and about like like me.
I think would be would be great. So if if I was to get a pet, it would most likely be a dog.
Matthew Brook. Thanks, Sononi. Great response. I will also jump in on this one.
So as a professional, I shared with everyone that I did get a dog and we got Archie about maybe a year ago in March.
So he is about 11 pounds and he is full of energy.
When we got a small dog, we were expecting possibly a bit more relaxed and hanging out, maybe, you know, lots of cuddles.
And he does do that. But he definitely requires at least an hour of intense playtime.
So to mitigate that as a professional, we we bring him to doggy daycare.
We bring him to different activities with other dogs and other dog parents.
And we share that time. And we've met a lot of people through having a dog, which for my work life balance has been a great addition to my life.
I've been able to meet others. I've been able to spend time with my dog, with my family.
And nothing is better than coming home or logging off during work from home and turning around and seeing your your little dog all happy to hang out and play and do all the kind of dog things that dogs do.
So I think that as a professional, I would definitely recommend anyone to get a dog, but also knowing that, you know, the responsibility that Carl mentioned is definitely there.
Sometimes it's early mornings, late nights, depending on what's going on with Archie.
But thanks, everyone, for sharing. So that concludes our questions portion of the meeting.
We are about two or three minutes ahead of schedule, so I'm just going to open the floor for anyone if they want to answer this last question to go for it.
Otherwise, we can move on. I can take a quick stab at this, because as you may have noticed, I do have a little visitor here on my lap, and as I previously answered in the second question, I do not my cell phone, any pets.
So you may be wondering in the crowd of millions watching TV right now, who is the cat on my lap in Sophie's home?
And this cat is my sister's.
My sister is coincidentally my roommate at the moment. And why I would say if I were to get a pet of my own and why I enjoy this pet that is my sister's as a professional is you may not know this about cats if you don't own one, but they are really naturally inclined to do work.
He just sits here all day and wants to grab my pen.
He wants to type on my laptop. I wake up in the morning and first thing our cat Chichi is here answering my emails or trying his darndest to.
He's not a natural with the English language, not quite adept, not there yet, but he tries very hard and his work ethic is astounding.
So when I wake up first thing and I want to make my coffee, wash my face, watch some TV or listen to NPR.
The cat is already up tapping away on the laptop, pulling around my pens and paper, and there's nothing really to get you up and going like some cat tapping on your keypad and potentially answering emails from your colleagues.
So the fear that it instills in me that the cat may be answering something and just the energy that he brings me by enthusiastically getting to work every morning.
I am equally excited to get to work because he seems like such an excited and hardworking colleague.
So I would say cats, while their schedule is bizarre and they require a lot of one on one attention because they're a little selfish, they're very cute and they like to be around all day, any day, no matter what a work from home schedule demands.
So there's my vote for a cat. And Chichi would second that if asked.
Oh, Chichi, thanks for sharing. I've heard that they're excellent biscuit makers as well.
I've seen a lot of memes about cats making biscuits. So now we're going to just jump into our conclusion.
Carl, if you could kick us off with the ums and the ahs, that would be great.
Absolutely. And admittedly, I haven't counted ums and ahs for myself, so I'll leave that up to the audience.
You can tweet me or LinkedIn me, however you prefer.
Starting there with Abhi's very first speech, Abhi had one ah and three buts.
Zanoni, you then had one ah and one you know.
Very, very well done. Brooke, you had three you knows, one so, one and and one but.
Sophie, in number four, had one ah and one so. Abhi then had one ah, one you know, and two buts.
Speech number six, Zanoni, you had two you knows and two ands.
And then finally, Brooke, in your very last one, you only had one you know. So that was very well done.
And Sophie had two sos and one but in the very last speech.
So there you all go. And I'll pass it on to the timer, I think. Great. Thanks, Carl.
So I'll go down. How you guys did, Brooke? You averaged about a minute and 28 seconds.
So really good using up your time. Sophie did really well.
You were averaging, you know, close to a minute and 40, 45 seconds. So great job, Carl.
Carl, you did really great on the first one. You did about two minutes, a little bit over.
And then on the second one, you were just over one minute. Abi, you were close to a minute for your first one, and it was about a 30, 33 seconds for the second one.
And me, I was averaging about a minute myself. So. All right. Thanks, Zanoni.
Sophie Grumerian, I'm going to hand it off to you. Yes. Thank you, Brooke and Zanoni.
So the word of the day being adept, I tried myself to use it a few times.
I don't know if I did it with the most proficiency. But Carl Henrick, in your first speech about babysitting or dog sitting Grant's dog, you kind of concluded the speech by saying you'd become more adept in your parenting skills by the time you had spent with a dog.
So that was a great use of the word. Thank you. And then I may have missed others, but I really enjoyed several interesting points of speech or use of speech, particularly in the pet stories.
I'll be I really enjoyed the way you described now having a baby and interacting with your your puppy or now dog, I suppose.
Carl Henrick, going back to the tortoise and the hare story, you had some fun allegory there.
And then, Zanoni, I really liked how you matched the dog to your pace of life and then describing in a list the activities you enjoy at home and the window down the imagery there was great.
Thanks, Sophie. I'll be I have about a minute left for you.
For evaluation. Thank you, Brooke. So I'm not going to go through each and every person due to lack of time, but I'll just mention about Sophie and Carl kind of the evaluation aspect.
I think the voice modulation was great.
Pause was great. Length of the speech was great. The examples use of words kind of really was engaging.
You had a little bit of hand gesture as well.
The use of the cat was kind of very you can't get lost. You can you have to put focus in here.
So I think all these components made these speeches very appealing and draw a lot of attention.
Thanks, Avi. So we have about a minute left today.
I'm just going to plug again. Please join us for upcoming Toastmasters.
We will take a hiatus after we met, I think, on Monday, and then we'll just have a hiatus over the holiday.
But we're definitely looking forward to making 2021 a bigger and better year for the organization.
You guys will see our faces at every meeting if we can make it.
Otherwise, you'll see, you know, a few people here and there.
And we're going to try to make some times that are more available for our global organization that we're all a part of.
And Toastmasters is an international club.
So not only do you get to be a part of the Cloudflare Toastmasters, you also get to be a part of an international organization.
If you want to know more about that, you can check them out on the Internet and just search Toastmasters and you guys will find that.
So don't hesitate to reach out to any of us for an invite.
And we will be more than happy to share any internal information as well as all of our links.
We're on Gchat and we're about three seconds from being cut off.