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Tribeless Conversations @ MMS 2018


Two weeks after TEDxPickeringSt in Singapore, we were onto our next adventure:

Hosting Tribeless Conversations for 120 attendees at the Malaysian Medical Summit 2018.

MMS attracts both students and medical professionals alike. It is the largest annual gathering in the local medical industry. The organizers shared in our vision of creating safe spaces for these professionals to open up, share stories and learn about about the lives they lead.

That’s where TRIBELESS came in.



the day before: training


learning how to hold space

20 volunteer facilitators gathered for a half-day training workshop on using The Empathy Box.

We played some games, practiced empathic listening, and broke off into smaller groups to experience the magic for themselves. By the end of the 5 hours, everyone felt excited and up to the task ahead!


the morning of: choosing

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pick your theme

On the morning of the conference, we set up next to the registration booth for attendees to pick their theme.

They would then be grouped with people who chose the same theme and invited to choose their word.


top 3 words chosen:

#3 – confidence

#2 – family

#1 – decisions

(Talk about being in medicine!)


pre-session prep: briefing

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showing off their balloons

Feeling pumped from a successful morning, the volunteer facilitators were eager to gather their groups.

We prepared handwritten balloons for them to find their groups of 6-8 people based on the themes. Just look at those smiley faces!

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and let the session begin!

The groups scattered themselves around the massive open-air area we’d blocked off for this session.

Without further ado, the volunteer facilitators kicked off their circles, and within minutes, the hall was abuzz with laughter and chatter!


afternoon session: Tribeless Conversations


Two hours of open, honest, empathic conversations between medical practitioners.

How powerful is that? We’ll let the pictures tell the story.


It may seem like a simple, two-hour interaction.

But Tribeless Conversations have the power to transform, educate and inspire.

what impact did these conversations have?

(based on 100+ reflection form responses)



felt heard & understood during the conversation


connected with their group on a deeper level


felt inspired by the stories they’d heard


heard perspectives they had never heard before

= deeper engagement & empathy-building



feel more motivated to serve after their conversation


developed a deeper understanding about the world and themselves


gained deeper appreciation for their field of study/work


developed deeper respect for other professionals in the field

= increased motivation in their field of work

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hear from the organizer herself – Eunice Lim


“The truth is, medical conferences tend to be very academia-centric – and that doesn’t bode well for the Millennial medical students I was trying to engage. I needed a way for my attendees feel like they were heard and encouraged to participate… in a non-threatening way.

That was why incorporating the TRIBELESS session was a happy marriage of sorts. It was no doubt a gamble on my end, as the people I worked with were skeptical with the idea of having “facilitated conversations to help people open up and be honest”.

Some people felt that it could just be another gimmick, as they’ve “heard of similar models, but they don’t always work”. I had to convince each of them otherwise. After dragging my co-chairperson to a Tribeless session, he was on board right away. The same was true for the volunteer facilitators, and later, the attendees as well.

Skepticism aside, we ultimately managed to attract 20 facilitators and 120 attendees (out of 160) to attend in the end. The rest, is history.

There are two extra perspectives that I can offer that the stats won’t tell:

(1) In the course of planning the conference, most of our committee had never met each other in person. Having them go through the Tribeless training together proved to be a good icebreaker and team-building experience, even though that wasn’t the explicit intention!

(2) Gwen and Shawn are extremely professional and easy to work with. The work they do is driven by passion, and this is proven through every little effort and extra mile they go to make everything better. They were actually handling another big event just shortly before mine, yet they still managed to provide our event with 110% attention!

As with life, sometimes things don’t work out the way you’ve planned it to be, but working with Tribeless was somewhat an anomaly: Things worked out exactly the way I wanted, and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything else! I am personally excited to see how far Tribeless will go, and I wish Gwen and Shawn all the best :)”


What an incredible day. Thank you, MMI Malaysia, for giving us the space to work our magic.

See you at our next event! 🔥