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Tribeless Lunchtime Takeover @ TEDxPickeringStreet 2018


On 4th August 2018, we embarked on our most ambitious endeavor yet:

To host Tribeless Conversations for 120 TEDxPickeringStreet attendees.

All we had was The Empathy Box, 25 volunteer facilitators, and one hour.

Here's how it went down.



the morning of: priming


what makes you thrive?

Even before the speakers took the stage, we wanted attendees to get talking.

So we set up a booth right next to registration, and asked attendees to pick a word that makes them thrive – and write it on a sticker!


wearing your word on your sleeve

The audience quickly became an ocean of words, with attendees striking up conversations with each other about the stories behind each other's words.

Mission: accomplished! And it wasn't even lunch-time yet...


top 3 words chosen:

#3 – acceptance

#2 – change

#1 – love


pre-lunch crush: prepping


the last briefing

Having just been trained the night before, all 25 volunteer facilitators were definitely feeling a lil' jittery!

We created a space for honesty and vulnerability, checking in with ourselves and each other before briefing each volunteer group on the logistics of their Tribeless Conversations at lunch.


15 seconds of fame:

introducing TRIBELESS to the TEDxPS audience


off to our groups we go!

After the on-stage announcement, the volunteer facilitators led their groups to their respective venues.

We scattered the groups of 6-8pax around the campus as to ensure privacy and bonding. Due to the sudden rainfall, some groups had to cozy up and share a venue!


lunchtime takeover: Tribeless Conversations


Laughter. Tears. An hour of sharing stories that stretched into two (oops!).

We'll let the pictures speak for themselves.


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

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

what impact did these conversations have?

(based on 100+ reflection form responses)



felt heard & understood during the conversation


said we're more similar than we are different


more likely to consider different perspectives


more accepting of different perspectives

= deeper connection & understanding



more likely to join local community events


got to know someone outside of their circles


heard new perspectives they've never had before


got to see a different side of Singapore

= stronger sense of social cohesion

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hear from the organizer herself – Ri Chang

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“The talks, they’re alright, but THIS. This is truly meaningful.”

- Actual quote from a participant


"When you have a participant say something like this, you know you’ve done something right.

It might seem counter-intuitive that the organizer of a TEDx is HAPPY that participants find the talks only ‘alright’... but talks, you can find anywhere.  The merit of an event are the face-to-face connections.

We decided to include Tribeless Conversations into our programming because we wanted to make sure our participants walk away with authentic and genuine connections that will flourish into other possibilities.

And indeed, after just one hour of Conversations, we have participants forming WhatsApp groups, making plans, and starting projects together.

What I really want to commend the Tribeless team on is their ability to deliver this experience of intimate sharing and bonding at scale.

Their methodology and training is able to ensure every break-out group – and we had close to 20 – had the same quality of conversations, and this is with VOLUNTEER facilitators. It even served as a great value-add to our volunteers, as they too benefit from learning something new.

If you’re looking to add some quality human connection to your event, definitely drop the Tribeless team a note. The flexibility of Tribeless Conversations as a format means it can accommodate almost ANY kind of event.

That aside, Shawn and Gwen are two of the most reassuring, professional and dedicated people I’ve had the pleasure of working with, and on behalf of the team, I’d like to thank them for making this edition of TEDxPickeringStreet the most meaningful one yet!"


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

See you at our next event! 🔥