Surfing The Winds Of Change

Why Do People Fear Change?

What is the greatest fear of human beings?

One of the biggest fears that people have is the fear of change. Inherently, some personalities are more risk adverse than others. In fact, statistically, around 86% of the general population are risk adverse1. They prefer changes that are implemented in stages and are properly managed.

Now I believe that people fear change as a result of natural selection. I remember in one of the jungle survival courses that I took when I was serving in the military, other than teaching us to kill chicken, rabbits and snakes, the instructor taught us not to take risks by eating unknown fruits and plants.

We were taught to meticulously test out the edibility of a plant by systematically rubbing it on the tender parts of our arms, wrists and lips in 15-minute intervals before putting it our mouth (for further testing).

The logic is simple: we do not need to eat something highly toxic to get killed in the jungle. If it just upsets our stomachs and we develop diarrhoea, combined with the lack of drinking water, we could be dead in a matter of a few days.

That is why I believe natural selection taught us to inherently fear change; to stick to the familiar plants and animals that we are used to eating. Thus, the careful people survived and risk-takers died in this aspect.

So there is nothing wrong with being risk adverse, is there?

Actually there is, when the environment is changing and we have no choice but to change with it.

Imagine that the government is developing the jungle that we’ve been living in. They are clearing it to make factories and they need workers to work in the factory. We can either choose to continue to harvest fruits and vegetables that we are used to (which will get lesser and lesser as days pass, and eventually disappear) or we can learn the new skills to work in a factory and be able to continue making a living in a new way.

Les Brown, a great motivational and change speaker once told this story. He was working with a company to downsize and they had selected a group of workers to take the “golden handshake” and receive USD$300,000 as compensation or continue to work for the company but risk being retrenched further down the road and get only 2 weeks’ pay.

Only 50% of those selected took the offer to move on early. The fear of change is even greater than the monetary reward being offered.

Most businesses today are facing unprecedented change. Technology is advancing at such a fast pace that a 5 year-old portable hard disk that I found when doing some house cleaning only had 1G of storage when a 8gb thumb drive is selling at about HK$45 (US$5.73) on eBay.

Today, we cannot afford to NOT change. Here are some things that have to happen before we change. Even though for some cases, these things happen really fast and in other cases they happen slowly.

As a change management speaker, having read many books on the topic of change and conducted several change management workshops, there are some common ingredients for change those books on change and change gurus teach.

Being more conscious of these things will help us move forward at a faster pace.

1. Change Your Mindset

There is famous saying that goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. Human beings are the same.

Our brains operates with a series of shortcuts. Not many (if any) of us will actively look out for house number every time we go home. We just know that it is our home as we walk toward it. Every wondered why? We also do not have to decide which side of our mouth to chew our food.

Because all these functions and many other functions are taken care of by our unconscious mind.

Similarly, when we are used to doing something in a particular manner, we tend to want to continue doing it the same way – on autopilot mode, simply because, it frees up our processing power to think about other things.

If we do not see any need for change, we will unlikely put in any real effort to change, because change takes time, energy and resolve. And human beings are creatures of habit. If my pre-programmed functions are serving me well and there is not reason for me to change any of the functions, I will tend to want to continue using those pre-programmed functions.

When we work with clients on changing some things in their lives, be it losing some weight, quitting a habit, becoming more successful at work or having better relationships, before we start working with them, we always ask them this question – Is it worth it? Is the change you want worth the effort that you will be putting in? If the answer is “No”, we will have to work on their motivation for change.

Having a change mindset means being mentally prepared for changes. If we are mentally prepared for change, then we will be able to change at a faster pace.

2. Believe in Yourself

Humans are one of the most adaptable creatures on earth. We might mostly be risk adverse but given time, we are able to overcome most of the problems that life has thrown at us. We have colonised almost every corner of the earth, other than Antarctica, which by the way, is still visited by scientists and tourists. Scientist are working to colonise other planets now, which I believe will happen in the next 50 years.

In 2003, when I had the idea of venturing out into the training industry, I had zero credentials. I had no idea who will be my clients and how I will be getting bookings. I spoke to a few close friends about the idea to seek their opinion.

Almost all of them asked me questions like, “who is going to be your clients?”, “how are you going to get them?” and “do you know of anyone who can work with you on this?” They were all well-meaning – they wanted to keep me safe they probably knew that it would be easier if I found a job that I was familiar with.

I am eternally grateful to one friend that I had. He told me, “Great! Why don’t you try? If you don’t try, you’ll never know.”

Because somebody believed in me, I started to believe more in myself. And as I started to work towards the big change in my life, I started to see some results and began to believe in myself even more.

It is important for us to able to change our mental picture of ‘who we are’ to ‘who we want to be’. A person who suffered abuse as a child may see himself as someone who does not deserve happiness. A person who grew up in a broken family may unconsciously believe that there is no real love on earth. A person who sees himself as wasting food that was supposed to feed hungry children when he does not finish every morsel of food on his plate, will never be able to stop himself from licking his plate clean.

That last person was I. I love to eat and I used to live in this dream body that could not put on weight no matter how much food I ate. I was brought up in a low-income family but my mother worked hard to ensure there’s always food on the table and she also made sure that I always finished the food on the table.

I grew up believing that the food on the table that is wasted could have been used to feed many hungry children in another country.

And I held on to that image for a big part of my life and as long as I held on to that image, I could not stop finishing my food, no matter how much food was served to me.

A couple of years ago I was in a fitness programme to lose weight. I trained 3 times a week and was still not seeing results. I did not know that what was holding me back from losing weight, was that mindset that I had.

I just could not stop myself from finishing food, until I let go of that mindset. When I realised that the food that is on the table can never be used to feed someone else in another country, not even in our neighbouring countries, I was able to control my food intake to lose 4 kilogrammes in 3 weeks.

3. Set Big Goals And Break Them Down.

Some people manage to make big changes in their lives in a very short span of time. This takes a tremendous amount of effort and discipline. All change takes discipline but a big change over a short period of time takes more discipline and commitment than one that is gradually implemented. A person who went through a big change over a short period of time may also not be able to maintain the change over a longer period; they may suffer a burnout.

This happens a lot with people who want to lose weight quickly. They go on extensive dieting plans or all protein, no carbs, no sugar diet plans and even though they see big results over a short span of time, their bodies crave for the carbohydrates and sugar that they are suddenly deprived of and eventually they succumb and put on a few more kilograms compared to when they first started dieting.

Work out a plan that has incremental goals and that you are comfortable with and stick to it.

Remember how when we were young and new to taking tests and exams our teachers taught us to complete as many questions as we can, skip those that we cannot solve and come back to them when we reach the end of the test paper?

We can apply the same tactic when working toward our goals.

Start the day with small goals so at least you get something done and you the euphoria of winning push you on toward the tougher goals. As opposed to starting with a huge, daunting task, which you may not be able to accomplish, and the feeling of failing may ruin the day for you.

Find out what you need to get yourself from where you are to where you want to be. Is it some skills that you need to pick up? Or is it some people that you need to convince? Or a number of smaller projects that you need to complete before you can take down the giant?

4. Be Consistent

Make a committed and consistent effort to work toward that goal. There are no short cuts in life. Good things happen to those who are working to find them. Success is an accumulation of the small things that we do every day.

It is difficult to stop a bad habit by thinking about it and using all our energy to control it every day. It is easier to replace it with another habit, for example, picking up an exercise like cycling or jogging. As we channel more of our energy to the new habit, there will be less time and energy for the old one.

Keep yourself on the path to success. When you are making a big change, you are like running long distance; it’s not going to be a short sprint. You will feel yourself getting stretched, you will feel some pain here and there and on sometimes you will feel like life has given you a big punch on your face.

Which is why in order to be consistent in your efforts, you need to keep you spirits up. How we can keep our spirits up is by immersing ourselves in a positive environment. Make it a habit to mix with people who are positive. Make it a habit to listen to positive speeches and read positive materials. Just spend 15 minutes everyday listening to motivational speakers – people like Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Nick Vujicic, Simon Sinek, Denzel Washington and Will Smith.

If you keep listening to these people, you will catch their spirit. it is contagious. You will feel the energy to make the change that you want, it is just not possible to listen to these people for 15 minutes a day for a month and still stay the same way.

The converse is true, if we are trying to make some changes and every day we are mixing with people who do not believe in making those changes and people who speak negative things about changing, sooner or later, we will become like them.

It’s like taking little punches during an MMA fight, to your thighs, to your body and to your face, they are not going to knock you out right away, but they are going to eat into your energy and eventually cause you to make some devastating mistakes.

Instead, we need to guard ourselves against these punches so they won’t eat into us. We should feed ourselves with energy from people who speak positive things.

5. Remember It Is Only Human To Suffer A Relapse

Some people who are working to change their behaviour suffer a relapse. The best way to handle it is to hold on to the mental picture of success and carry on the programme as planned.

We need to understand that we cannot achieve success by doing the right things once, twice or three times. Similarly, we cannot fail by not doing the right things a few times. It takes consistent efforts to get results – whether good or bad ones.

Imagine if you are on a diet to lose weight and you have been reducing the portion carbohydrates that you consume for a month and on the first day of the next month, you ate a 12-inch pizza all by yourself.

2 things can happen now. One, you blame yourself for not having enough will power to stick to the plan, feel lousy about it and continue eating a whole pizza everyday for the rest of the week, or two, you accept that you have slipped, and go back to portion control that you consume the next day. Which do you think is a better option?

If we hold on to the positive mental picture of ourselves, going back on the programme is the obvious choice. It will set us on path to success, even though we may fall along the way.

It is the little things we do every day, on most days, that is going to give us the results that we want. So stick to the programme.



  1. The Personality Workbook by Institute for The Motivational Living, Inc., USA

How to Scientifically Influence Customers

Psychologists have been researching on how people react to requests made by others since the early 1950s.

One might think that most people think through all available information relevant to an issue before making a decision. Research shows otherwise. Due to the vast amount of information available, most people use short cuts in decision making.

They form a preferred way of making decisions for a particular type of problem, in this case, responding to requests made by other people.

Today, we are going to share with you some of the effective methods of getting a “YES” out of your colleagues or prospects. In short, we call this the LACERS law.

1. Likability
2. Authority
3. Consensus
4. Existing Commitment
5. Reciprocity
6. Scarcity

1. Likability
We all know that we need to create rapport with our prospects. The big question is how?
In our “Magic of Super Sales Revealed” class we train participants how and when to do it at a conscious and unconscious level.

Research has shown that people like other people for a few main reasons:
a. they find similarities with the other person;
b. they get complimented the other person; &
c. when they work with the other person toward a common goal.

At the conscious level, when we are building rapport with a prospect, we have to consciously look for similar things – common topics, experiences or opinions that we share with the prospect. When we can also pay a genuine compliment on the dressing or attribute that we have just learnt about the prospect, that will make us more likeable to them.

2. Authority
People unconsciously respond positively to requests made by people in authority, for example, experts, people who have professional accreditation, and people who represent respected institutions.

In a research with physiotherapists, they found that patients who see professional certificates on the walls in the clinics of those therapists then to comply recommendations given by them, as compared to those who do not display their certificates.

It was also found that people are more prone to give away their spare change to strangers in uniform when asked to do so at parking places.

An interesting and easily applied technique in increase our influence is to get a third party introduction before attending to the customer.

3. Consensus
In the hotel experiment, research was done on how to influence guests to reuse their towels (this eventually translates to lesser work and costs savings). They found out that by simply displaying a card that states the benefits to the environment where the towels are hung, about 35% of the guests will do so.

An interesting fact is that 75% of guests who stay 4 nights or more will reuse their towels at some point during their stay with the hotel. By simply reiterating this fact as, “75% of our guest reuse their towels at some time during their stay, please do so as well”, compliance rates goes up by about 26%.

An even more interesting fact is that if they specifically mentions that “75% of people who stayed IN THIS ROOM have reused their towels”, towel reuse rate improves by 33%.

When people are making decisions, especially when they are unsure of what to do, they tend to look at what others in a similar situation have done.

4. Existing Commitment
In a driving safety campaign, researches were trying to get home owners to put up a sign that says, “Drive Safely” on their lawn with little success.

They found out that by simply asking the home owners to put up a postcard 10days before making the request to put up the sign, they get 400% more positive responses.

This research tells us that when small initial commitments are made by a person to do something, they tend to follow through with bigger commitments.

5. Reciprocity
This law states that people feel obliged to reciprocate what they have been given. We can commonly see this law happening in wedding gifts and children’s party invitations.

In an interesting study made in a restaurant, it was found that by simply giving the customer a mint when presenting the bill increases the tip amount by 3%.

The researchers got curious and wondered if doubling the number of mints would double the amount of tips and they were astonished to see the tips increase by 14%!

And by appropriately giving two mints in a specific manner and paying the customer a compliment, the increase in tips skyrocketed to 33%.

6. Scarcity
Many of us are familiar with this law. When a certain good is about to run out of supply, it suddenly becomes more desirable. For example, the work of a dead artist, that limited edition bag and that last television set on special discount.

By simply communicating a few simple facts, we will be able to make our products more appealing.

Do make yourself more influential today, or sign up for our Leadership or Sales influence classes to learn more.


Training Venues to Date & Hello 2018!

Since 2015, we are thankful that we have added Taiwan to our list of cities and countries that we have trained before.

To date, we have consulted or trained in about 28 cities across Asia, including China, India, Taiwan and Vietnam!

We will like to thank all our clients for giving us the opportunity to work with them and we look forward to even more training engagements in countries and cities other than Singapore and Hong Kong where we are based.

As we always tell our customers, if you like our programmes and service, do recommend us to your colleagues, friends and relatives; if you do not like us, do recommend us to your competitors, if you have any.

änergy has rich experience and expertise in organising interactive workshops for MNCs and many Fortune 500 companies, with participants from around the world. we have had the opportunity to train in the following cities/countries since 2003:-

Here’s wishing everyone a very prosperous and healthy 2015!

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Introducing Change in a Team

One of human being’s most powerful asset is the ability to change.

Being able to change allows us to constantly refine our techniques so we get better at what we are doing over time. It helps us choose between various methods of problem solving so we can become more efficient and productive. It gives us the key to overcoming an environment that is constantly changing so we can still benefit when the circumstance varies.

In fact, many leaders realise that the person, team or organisation that has the most flexibility will end up benefitting the most in any changing environment (and change is present in most environments). One of the common topics we help clients with in the past decade is “Change Management”.

People dislike changes. Most people that is. Statistics puts that number at almost 70%. Most of us prefer to do things in the same way that we have been used to doing it, probably because it gives us a sense of security as we are familiar with it. It fits into our routine comfortably, we know we are already good at doing it that way and it is easy as we do not have to consciously think about it when we are doing it.

People dislike change for various reasons – fear of the unknown, fear of failure, adapting to changes slows things down, having to go through the cumbersome process of relearning again…. etc.

Here are some important steps when introducing changes in an organisation:

1. Change begins with a decision.
Change, in many  instances can be critical to an organisation’s survival, and in some cases can make a huge difference in the company’s performance. This information has to be communicated to every member of the organisation. It is when everyone understands that there is no other choice but to change. This will help them make the decision to change.

2. There has to be a systematic way to showing them how to do it.
People learn things at different paces. If you have introduced a game to a group of people, you will realise that a few of them will understand the game half-way though your instructions, some of them will get it by the time you finish and most of them will understand after you repeat some of your instructions during questions and answers sections and some will still not get it when you first start playing the game.

One of the most important things to do when introducing change is to identify the people that will change quickly, the ones that will change with most people and the remainder that will put up the most resistance.

After that, we will need a strategy to show each of the groups how to change, giving them support and also a timeline and incentive to change.

3. Reinforcement
Many are successful in implementing changes to their teams for a short while and after that they realise that people go back to t their old ways of doing things. What is missing is the monitoring and constant reinforcement so that positive behaviour is reinforce to a point it becomes a habit.

When that happens, it will take significant effort to do things differently from the new habit that is being formed.

4. Get professional help.
If help is needed, get it. When you have done everything you can and nothing seems to be working or the results are not consistent, it may be a sign that professional help is required.

Some of us may have that experience at a personal level. Sometimes, some people just need that extra push to get to where they want to go. An executive coach will sometimes do the trick for you and takes the load off your shoulders.

The very act of getting an external consultant to give that additional support to the particular employee – shows the importance of the exercise and gives the additional motivation for a person to change.

In summary, change doesn’t always have to be difficult. As long as it is properly managed and introduced in stages with the right strategy, it can be implemented smoothly.

Taiwan Team Building

We have just completed a 2 day DISC training and team building for the management and some staff of a global Investment bank’s branch office in Taiwan. This is our 3rd training this year for this Investment group (we had previously completed 2 trainings for them in Singapore), and our first training in Taiwan.

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It seems kind of weird that we have been so close to Taiwan after we set up our office in Hong Kong in 2009, and have flown numerous times to different parts of China from Hong Kong (and even to Mumbai and Hyderabad in India), and have only just completed our first training engagement in Taiwan. We are, nonetheless, very glad that finally this item on our “to-do” list for our company can finally be checked.

Taiwanese people have always given me the impression of being shrewd business people and yet relational, warm and welcoming.  I remember that from my childhood days when my father was involved in a trading business with Taiwanese business partners.

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After the 2-day training, I came to realise also that they are also a group of extremely committed, creative and determined individuals with a strong sense of common goal in a team setting. Not to mention that they are probably one of the most fun loving groups that I remember from our past 11-year history.

The venue that the client has selected is very near the iconic Taipei 101 building. The participants were very interactive during the DISC training and raised many interesting questions during the training.

During the team building portion, both the management and staff were both extremely enthusiastic and worked very well in their teams. There was great communication within and between teams and participants were committed to complete the challenges that were posted to them.

When feedback were given, the teams were respectful and eager to learn, with many of them taking down notes on their own.

One of the highlights for our trip was of course the night market and street snacks (as with the other training and team building venues that we travel to).

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Deep fried cuttle fish from Taiwan that will make any other calamari feel inadequate
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Wild boar sausages that comes in 12 different types of flavours
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Creative Japanese style omelette with 12 different toppings
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Japanese pan cakes with different fillings at unbeatable prices (btw, this was not the cheapest one we found) and they tasted GREAT, with so much filling that it overflows


Do note that these are just a few of the tonnes of photos of street snacks that we have taken. We also had delicious BBQ whole cuttlefish, the most amazing deep fried boneless chicken drumsticks, great Japanese udon and Taiwanese beef noodles and many more.

On a side note, the night markets in Taiwan are an extremely good location to a team building food race for some clients. All we have to do is to give them some pocket money and a list of items to buy and consume, and of course station some of our staff near the food stalls and get them to complete team building tasks while/before/after consuming their food.

It will time-saving for companies with tight schedules – they do not have to set aside additional time for team building from their meeting schedules; It is great bonding – almost every culture in the world bonds over eating or drinking; they get to experience this great Taiwanese culture and they get to learn about working together!

Next on our “to-do list” will be a Taiwanese Night Market Team Building Race. If you are interesting in doing a “Taiwanese night market amazing race” type of team building programme for your staff, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Overall, our experience in Taiwan has been a fruitful one and we can’t wait to come back again for more training engagements.

P/S: The HR Manager has told us that she has received numerous positive feedback from the participants and the other managers in the company are already asking about similar training for their departments. So it looks like we will be coming back here soon, fingers crossed!


Hungarian Difference

We were with Lynx Analytics yesterday for their DISC training and team building. The opted for an outdoor team challenge (with an indoor backup programme) in view of the recent rainy weather.

They were also happy to work with our long time venue partner in Sentosa, which offers some of the best meeting facilities and delicious food on the island.

The group left an impression on us as it was our first time in 11years working with a Hungarian company. We had no idea what the participants will be like, except that we were not familiar with how to pronounce some of the names.

Turned out this group was a really fun bunch, they were interactive during the DISC training where we shared with them insights on different DISC personality profiles, their preferences and dominant fears, how to communicate with people of different personalities and also how we can introduce change or be more adaptable to change.

They impressed us as being determined, fun loving, hungry for knowledge and open in their communication. They are somewhat competitive yet they seemed to know that it was a day for them to relax and make connections with their colleagues based in different countries, so they were a little laid back an focused on chatting with one another and enjoy the very nice all day coffee included in the seminar package.

The morning session passed by quickly as we finished up by showing the participants what was everyone’s DISC profile and declared that it was time for lunch. As most of the participants left the room and proceeded to the buffet spread, a group of participants remained – a mix of junior and senior staff – and they were scrutinising the slide to see what profiles their colleagues were and how it related to their behaviour at work. This showed us that they were serious in wanting to better understand their co-workers. They only left for lunch after I assured them that that particular slide will be made available to them after the event, together with the photographs that were taken.

As lunch came and went, it was evident that the weather is going to hold up and we will be able to let the participants explore the famous island of Sentosa through a team building race, one that we have run a minimum of 500 sessions in the past 11years. After all, all the checkpoints during the race is sheltered and participants can take the bus, Sentosa Express (a mono rail train) or hitch a ride from strangers if they do not wish to travel on foot.

The locations that we have picked for this group was nearer to one another, however, their route was longer because of the distance of their start and end point. Some of the teams actually ran and walk to most of their checkpoints to save time. They were also constantly verbally encouraging one another during the race to keep their spirits up.

One of the paticipant, Miklos, told us that Hungarian has a very unique culture as they were very isolated for a long time (from the rest of the world), he also mentioned that Hungary has a very unique language that is not similar from other languages. Further research revealed that their language is only related to Finnish and Estonian, both of which are foreign to us.

These are some interesting facts we found out about Hungary from the participants and also from googling:

1. There has been 13 Hungarian born scientists awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize, making it the country with the most winners per captia
2. It is a small country with only 10mil population (about twice of our tiny Singapore)
3. It formed part of the Celtic world (Roman Empire) and was founded in 897, before France and Germany were separated
4. It was a communist nation from 1956-1989
5. They invented the Rubik’s cube!
6. Literacy rate is 99%
7. It’s capital is Budapest and the country attracted more than 10.2mil visitors in 2010, which is more than the population of the entire country, so chances are that in Budapest, there are more tourist than locals on the average!

Novotel Bongol an ideal team building venue in Jakarta, Indonesia.

This is our second trip to Jakarta, Indonesia. This time, our team of 6 flew up for an American Bank who wanted to bring home the importance of adapting to change and being a change agent within their organisation.

They initially asked us for recommendations, however, we have only been to Jakarta once before and that time, we did our training at Manulife’s training room in their office. So we had non to offer.

They eventually decided on Novotel Bongol Golf Resort as their teambuilding venue after some recommendations by locals. We were optimistic about the resort when we saw the map of the resort online, even though we did not know how open they were to having external trainers run programmes at their resort.

After some research, we learnt that Novotel Bongol Golf Resort is a popular destination for many Indonesians, especially during the weekend. It takes about 90 minutes to get from the Jakarta airport to the resort with clear traffic.

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It took us about 2hours to get to the resort from the airport. The hotel staff are well trained, friendly and helpful. The hotel is tastefully decorated, with Chinese and Indonesian influence. The bedrooms are not large by Indonesian (or Malaysian) standards but they are adequately sized and comfortable with standing shower in our twin-sharing bedroom.

Interesting sculptures can be found around the hotel grounds. There are lots of greenery and open spaces around with adequately equipped seminar rooms and ballroom to support trainings and meetings.

Food an beverage in the hotel is reasonably priced by Singapore’s standard, a buffet dinner cost only Rp215,000++ per person. The quality of food was great and the selection was pretty wide, with a good mix of local and regional delicacies.

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We also checked out the bar, which serves a good mix of mock-tails and cocktails. Food preparation time was a little tardy as we had to wait more than 30mins for an order of 3 mini tapas with a basket of truffet fries (as with many hotels in Indonesia and Malaysia) so we can’t really complain. Drinks are reasonably priced at about Rp45,000 for mock-tails and Rp90,000 for alcoholic cocktails the drinks were served in pretty big jugs too.

While planning for the training, we realised that the staff are professional and accommodating to our requests and despite the rain, there are sufficient pockets of spaces for us to carry out wet weather activities.

We will highly recommend this venue to our other clients who are considering Jakarta as their next meeting venue.

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Xiamen – a tourist city in China

Popular for it’s attractive seascape, Xiamen China is an easily accessible destination via air, train coach or sea, depending on the source of your travels. Our team had the opportunity to travel up in January this year to Xiamen, and was put up at a beautiful hotel –  Hotel Nikko Xiamen, and we’d like to share our experience with you!

Touching down at Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport, we were greeted with a clean & efficient airport system. Our hotel guide stood ready to welcome us once we’re out of the arrival hall and ushered us, together with the massive amount of logistics, to our waiting van. As it’s near the coastal area, Xiamen is pleasantly sunny even during the tail-end of the winter season. . As our crew was travelling from wintery Hong Kong to Xiamen, we were expecting the weather to be in a cool 10-15 degrees, however we were warmly surprised when the weather was nice and warm at about 25 degrees! We discarded our thick jackets in no time.

We travelled from the airport to Hotel Nikko, and took in the sights of well developed streets & infrastructure. Hotel Nikko, a 5-star hotel in Xiamen has an inviting entrance with a water feature at it’s porch. Marble flooring & sculptural art are seen around the hotel, giving it a posh feeling. Built in 2011, the hotel and its amenities were fairly new when we visited. I personally like the layout of the room, esp the spaciousness of it. The bedroom and toilet area was comparable in size, and if we’re sharing a room with another person, that gives each person plenty of space.

The team building session was held for a group of 300+pax group, and the hotel had a large ballroom which fit everyone, and we could even segregate the room into 3 different parts for our program.

Though we were there for a project, we had time to go for a team lunch & a mini walkabout to a nearby shopping district. One thing to note when ordering food, that the portions are large, and if you’re not a big eater, sharing is recommended. Their staples were served in large plates and even the burly guys within our team couldn’t finish them. Once the project was over, we headed to the shopping centre in cabs, and their cab fares are relatively inexpensive, a 15min trip costs only about SGD2. Xiamen should be better known for GuLangYu, renowned for its delicate natural beauty, ancient relics and varied architecture, as the mall was relatively quiet, even on a weekend.

Though our time was short in Xiamen, we enjoyed her sights, hospitality and food! Till our next visit!

Pulai Desaru Beach Resort – a fuss-free retreat

Another place to consider for your team building retreat in Desaru, would be Pulai Desaru Beach Resort. Just a short drive of less than 2 hours from the Woodlands checkpoint in Singapore would bring you there. For those who are familiar with the roads, the newly constructed highway, the Senai-Desaru highway in Johor would make travelling an ease. It is one of our recommended places for companies to do their team building exercises, especially if the team doesn’t mind travelling out of Singapore but going on a flight is a concern.

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The resort boasts of a land area of 22km, including a beach right at it’s door. With so much space, there’s a lot of room, and conference halls to cater for your meeting and team building needs. We went there with our clients for their team building activities, and found it to be a quaint, resort with a very laid back atmoshphere, perfect for a getway with your colleagues, as you relax and have some down time together, away from work.

Nearby the resort, there are various farms to visit such as the Crocodile farm, the Fruit Farm and also the Firefly tour, and for the more adventurous cohort, they have activities such as ATV (all-terrain vehicles) riding and water sports to try out.

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A resort that aims to please everyone, this resort is an affordable overseas venue which offers plenty of choices for recreation. The rooms offers views of either the garden, pool or the sea, which you can take your pick from.

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Berjaya Times Square – in the heart of ‘Garden City of Lights’

Have had too many retreats at the beach? Looking for somewhere metropolitan? I have one place in mind and all it takes is a $20 one-way coach ticket! Oh, and the return ticket too.

Situated right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur City, also known as the ‘Garden City of Lights’, Berjaya Times Square Hotel is your one-stop venue for comfortable lodging, wonderful dining and entertainment experience, endless shopping and fun team building! Equipped with Asia’s largest indoor theme park & one of the biggest bowling centres in Malaysia, the adjoining 10-storey shopping mall is overflowing with fun-filled activities throughout the day and night! The mall also offers the largest 3D digital hall in town. If you stay in the square, you can be sure to be kept entertained!

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You would also be excited to know that Berjaya Times Square created and owns Malaysia’s first motion sensor Grand Musical Stairs, which was recently certified by the Malaysian Book of Records. Walking up the flight of stairs that resembles a classical piano keyboard truly sounds like an extraordinary experience, don’t you think? We’re sure it will bring you a whole new level of surprise and entertainment.

Berjaya Times Square is highly accessible, with monorails connecting all strategic locations right to its doorstep. It is located near the Golden Triangle – KL’s main shopping and nightlife district. If you’re looking for more adventure (and you’re not afraid of the sweltering weather), you can take a three-minute walk to Bukit Bintang, an area well-known for its ever bustling day life and ever busy night life. The area contains many of KL’s popular malls, tantalizing eateries and cafes, and live street concerts. A couple of minutes via the monorail would take you to Petronas Twin Tower (the tallest twin towers in the world) and KL Tower (world’s fifth tallest telecommunications tower).

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Being the 8th largest building in the world, this 48-storey hotel has facilities and venues that can accomodate both indoor and outdoor activities. It offers 10 function rooms and a pillar-less ballroom with capacity to accommodate 2000 persons! One year, we did our own version of amazing race within the shopping mall and it was great fun! From the smallest events to the largest of conventions, Berjaya Times Square Hotel is the perfect location for business and leisure!

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