3 tips for running a successful virtual event

For nearly 30 years The JGA Group has held Team Forum, a twice-annual event of updates and CPD for anyone with any connection to the company and, on occasion, anyone else who happens to be passing and wants free food! For the first time in our memory and for obvious reasons we skipped the event scheduled for May/June 2020 and for January chose to enter a virtual world…

Tip #01 – Choose a compelling theme (Building Resilience)

After nine months of lockdown, January seemed a good opportunity to remind our community of great ways to adapt and build resilience. We carefully chose the first Team Forum of 2021 to showcase some of the lockdown projects from across our training provision and how each team overcame the challenges they faced during development and delivery.

Building Resilience Means:

“the ability to adapt well to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress — can help our employees manage stress and feelings of anxiety and uncertainty,”


Tip #02 – Select an appropriate platform (Virbela)

With Teams tiredness and Zoom fatigue setting in, we are experimenting with our private JGA suite in a virtual world, Virbela. Late last year Bid and Proposal Coordinator apprentices enjoyed two three-day virtual bid rooms in Virbela and this felt like an opportunity to use it for a different purpose, a staff conference and CPD sessions with breakout sessions. Teams were from a broad range of backgrounds.

Sneak Peek inside our private suite

“JGA’s Team Forum couldn’t have come at a better time. We chose this virtual world over other conferencing tools for its quirky design, combination of public and private spaces and the ability to socialise and to brand it to our own requirements. Afterwards the majority of our attendees said Virbela made it easy to forget current restrictions because it helps restore a sense of togetherness …”

Jubril Enyoisi, Head of Brand and Communication

Tip #03 – Invite inspirational guest speakers (Shakira Martin & Kathryn Knights)

Building resilience is not only about becoming thick-skinned! It also includes gaining a degree of flexibility in both mind and the body! At Team Forum we got the opportunity to experience a bespoke Desk Pilates session led by the redoubtable Kathryn Knights who demonstrated simple and effective breathing and stretching techniques to improve wellbeing.

JGA was privileged to host an experienced keynote speaker, Shakira Martin, who gave a personal account of her triumphs over prejudice and exclusion as she has built her personal and professional life. Shakira was the first black President of the National Union of Students. On election, she found an organisation in financial crisis and was forced to make difficult staffing decisions, including scrapping an equal opportunities role she had previously fought hard to create.

Shakira encouraged us to first recognise challenges, acknowledge what is and isn’t within our control and then to reach out for support from family, friends, colleges and professionals! With the global pandemic and national lockdown, people have forgotten that challenges to mental wellbeing, inclusion and equal opportunity existed long before our current situation and will continue to exist long after. Hence her message unapologetically appealed to us all to pay more attention to our own and others’ emotional and mental health.

SHAKIRA’s Rule of Three

  1. Take a moment to rest and reflect and improve your personal performance.
  2. If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your consciousness.
  3. Always look for the opportunity to try to do things differently.