Annual General Meetings (AGMs) are a regular fixture in the calendar for both business and member organisations. Over the years these events have started to integrate elements of live streaming so that shareholders and stakeholders can connect to view proceedings, ask questions and vote where required. However, there has always been a disconnect between those in the room, and those online.
During 2020 and 2021, when COVID was rampant, there was a rapid shift to fully virtual AGMs, in order to deliver this vital event through isolation/lockdown rules. This move away from the traditional in-person event made AGMs more accessible, becoming more accepted and understood by stakeholders over the physical alternative.
In 2022, having a wholly virtual or hybrid event is a welcome one because of the inclusive benefits of having virtual participation. Also, it’s an environmentally sound solution for staff who live further from the in-person venue. However, virtual isn’t without its problems; here, we discuss the drawbacks of virtual and how to overcome them with better speaker management.
Getting speakers prepared
When your stakeholders are attending an AGM online (whether from their office or another location), it’s paramount that your speakers can effectively present on their end so that all participants can see and hear the meeting. Speakers don’t just include the core business team (president, CEO etc) but a wide range of other stakeholders and shareholders. GoRemote has written a few articles with tips on getting hybrid and virtual speakers ready for presentations – read more here
Voting inclusion and transparency
It’s essential for all your stakeholders to have a say and vote on important issues during your yearly event. This can either be through a live voting system or with voting information sent beforehand (proxy votes). Having a live digital vote ensures that results are logged automatically in real-time, and there’s a complete audit trail. It also allows everyone to make their choices during the meeting. Last year, some AGMs using just conference calling experienced problems with getting everyone to vote at the right time. With simple technology such as a slido app for live polling – you can ensure everyone’s vote is recorded, but it is key that everyone knows how to use the technology and has easy access.
Questions and interactivity
For many shareholders, this is the only chance in the year that they have to put questions to the board and hold them to account, so it’s essential that your virtual participants have access to Q&A messaging software throughout the meeting. You can develop the question architecture so that participants can ask questions and have them answered during the talk, after the session during allotted question time, or are responded to by email after the event. Ensuring everyone feels included and validated.
Seamless experiences for hybrid events
Attending a virtual AGM shouldn’t feel like a disadvantage for participants. The virtual event should be just as good as a physical one. Making sure that your participants and speakers online have a similar experience means giving them access to all the networking and voting capabilities and making sure your speakers feel looked after whether they are online or in the room.
GoRemote has helped several important internal meetings take place with better control of the virtual aspects of the event. We’ve worked on a number of AGMs over the past two years helping the organisers integrate the virtual aspects seamlessly into their event. One prime example was for FIBA (the International Basketball Association) Congress 2021 (https://www.fiba.basketball/congress), where they needed to connect over 250 member organisations from across the world. It was essential that each could both ask questions and importantly vote on key decisions. Our role was to technical check, brief and provide training on the platform and voting system so that when they needed to interact, they could easily and without any issues. This service ensured the event ran smoothly and each member was represented.
We have the team, tools and processes to ensure that your event offers the best experience wherever your speakers and participants are.