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Why virtual AGMs are a necessary reality and should be embraced

As we work towards the new COVID-normal, virtual conferencing technology is set to become the new st...

8 easy steps to prepare for online shareholder meetings

Online shareholder meetings and annual general meetings are likely here to stay.

If you’re new to virtual AGMs, preparing for your first meeting can be challenging. How can you ensure you cover all the necessities of a physical event and translate them to the digital environment in a way that benefits both your organisation and shareholders?

Here's everything you need to know about preparing for a successful online shareholder meeting.

1. Speak to a professional

If you’ve never run a virtual AGM before, it’s best to start by speaking to a professional virtual event manager who can give you a thorough understanding of the process and what you’ll need to prepare.

Ensure that the virtual event platform you choose is reputable, with a proven track record of running successful virtual AGMs for a diverse range of organisations. Good providers will take care of all the technical preparations for you and guide you through your steps to success.

2. Set out your ‘game plan’

Work with your virtual event provider to establish a game plan for your meeting. Will it be completely remote or can you accommodate for a hybrid event? How many speakers will you have? Will you require a moderator? Will you run interactive features like Q&A and voting on resolutions?

Once you know what parameters you’re working with, you can better prepare the rest of your planning process.

3. Request shareholders submit questions in advance

One of the hallmarks of a successful virtual AGM is hosting a Q&A session moderated by an impartial facilitator. While your virtual event platform should provide a moderator for you, they can also help you request shareholder questions ahead of your meeting. Procuring questions ahead of time helps attendees prepare for your meeting as well as streamline the event itself. 

Always keep in mind the deadline for proxy voting in your planning process. ASIC also prefers that shareholders are given the opportunity to ask questions during the livestream, so look for a platform that facilitates robust real-time discussion. Your moderator will decide on the most appropriate questions, screen any irrelevant ones and keep the meeting running promptly. 

4. Send out agendas and reminders in advance

It’s not just questions that should be sent out in advance of your meeting. Make sure that all attendees have been provided with an accurate agenda, and do your best to stick to the schedule. Part of getting this right is ensuring that the registration process is seamless and accommodates for different technical abilities. We all know that people can get busy, so send out reminders in the lead up to the event with tips on logging in and how to get the most of a virtual meeting. 

Speak to your virtual event provider about whether they can take care of this process for you.

5. Write e-scripts

Preparing e-scripts in advance will help the Chair, CEO and other speakers adapt their AGM script to a virtual setting. Speaking in this format may be a new experience, so rehearse a few different scenarios until everyone is comfortable and knows how to handle any potential disruptions to their presentations.

6. Do a last minute tech run through

Today, virtual event platforms are easy to use and will often include 24/7 tech support, monitoring your meeting to ensure everything runs smoothly and any problems are quickly troubleshooted. Despite this, every event should still have a technical run through at least 30 mins prior to ensure all speakers can access the platform and that their feeds are working properly.

7. Establish professional standards 

Even though speakers may be broadcasting remotely, your virtual AGM should still be held to the same professional standards as an in-person event.

This means ensuring that expectations are set in regards to the speaker’s background (a clean monocoloured wall is often best), attire, acoustics of their environment, and that measures are in place to minimise interruptions in their streaming location.

Rather than leaving these to the last minute, give your speakers ample time to make appropriate arrangements by outlining these expectations well in advance.

8. Give yourself the right tools for success

Having the right tools for the job is the only way to ensure that your virtual AGM will be smooth, succinct and successful. Have all your notes, annual reports and other important documents ready and your presentations finalised well before meeting day.

The single most important preparation though, is ensuring that you have the right technology and provider by your side to make your online shareholder meeting a success. 

At Express Virtual Meetings, we are highly experienced in providing managed virtual events and AGMs for clients across Australia. On top of a raft of features including moderated Q&A sessions, live voting and secure participant registration and verification processes, we also have advanced VEP security to protect your organisation and attendees.

Make sure you have the right tools to prepare for your online shareholder meeting by contacting our virtual event experts, today!

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