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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...

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 standard method for running annual general meetings at many organisations.

The good news for organisations who have been resistant to making the switch from in-person to online shareholder meetings is that the technology and tools which facilitate virtual AGMs have greatly improved in recent years, providing an experience that is as robust, authentic and effective as in-person meetings.

Here’s why hosting a virtual AGM is a necessary reality that your organisation should be excited to embrace.

Virtual AGMs are a safe solution

In 2020, social distancing greatly impacted how business is conducted and how we go about our lives. Organisations are now expected to offer safer solutions to their usual business practices, which means providing alternative ways to shop, trade and meet. 

When you host a virtual or hybrid AGM, you’re keeping your attendees safe by giving them the same opportunities they would have in an in-person meeting, but from the comfort and safety of home.

Virtual AGMs provide more flexibility for shareholders and the organisation

Organising an in-person AGM is a logistical challenge for nearly every business. Whether it’s catering, aligning leadership team schedules or accommodating for global shareholders, getting important stakeholders together in the same room, at the same time, can feel almost impossible.

With travel restrictions remaining in place around the world, giving attendees the flexibility to dial in from anywhere, without having to factor in travel times, will improve the productivity and effectiveness of your meeting and have many benefits for both shareholders and your organisation. 

Not only will more stakeholders be able to attend your meetings, you can expect substantial cost savings from not having to fly people in, provide catering or hire large venues.

Shareholders can still vote and have their say

It would seem logical that online AGMs are less conducive to audience engagement and could make the voting process difficult. However, one of the great benefits of virtual AGMs is how easy it is for attendees to vote and have their say.

Rather than the usual tallying of votes by hand, a good virtual AGM platform will actually optimise shareholder and member engagement through features such as hosted Q&A sessions, live voting and polling, and security measures to ensure confidentiality and avoid unwanted intruders.

Sending out your agenda, and requesting questions in advance of your meeting will help keep things flowing and allow attendees to adequately prepare and submit questions.

Legislation is changing to accommodate virtual AGMs

The Australian Federal Government is adapting legislation to maintain temporary amendments to the Corporations Act, allowing companies to manage and hold virtual AGMs into the future. With uncertainty around ongoing travel restrictions, and changing attitudes and expectations around public health precautions, now is the time to introduce virtual AGMs to your organisation and formulate new processes for a future of increasingly digital interactions.

If you’re yet to get onboard with virtual shareholder meetings this season, you most likely will in the next few years, so it’s advisable to get ahead of the curve and talk to a managed virtual event professional about how easy it is to get started.

The user-experience of virtual AGMs is improving

The ease and quality of your virtual AGM is key to its success. The good news is that the right technology allows you to achieve both of these with ease. To ensure that the user experience of your virtual AGM is intuitive and seamless for attendees, look for a platform that includes:

  • Shareholder or member log in with a unique link
  • Live voting and polls
  • A moderator to host Q&A sessions
  • Live event broadcast via video and/or audio
  • A range of joining options to accommodate different attendees needs
  • The ability to broadcast as a video or audio conference
  • The option to broadcast from a physical location or conduct a hybrid event
  • Professional 24/7 support to ensure a hitch-free meeting
  • Easy and secure participant registration processes 

If you have a moderator managing the meeting, your shareholders are going to have more confidence in the process and feel they have the same opportunities to speak up and hold the board to account that would in-person.

Tips for hosting a successful virtual AGM

The technology and tools available to us now are so refined that with the right platform, you don’t have to lose any of the positives of an in-person meeting, and actually gain benefits by moving things online. And with the right support, you won’t have to worry about the technical side of conducting your meeting, giving you more time to concentrate on the meeting agenda, which you should try and replicate as closely to that of your usual AGM.  

If you’re worried about how the meeting will flow, do a few practice rounds and ask your managed virtual event provider for their expert advice on how best to speak on camera and encourage audience interaction. 

Express Virtual Meetings are trusted by leading organisations across Australia to manage their virtual AGMs, taking care of every aspect of the experience with fantastic outcomes. Our state-of-the-art Virtual Event Platform is integrated with our wholly-owned conferencing technology for a seamless experience you will be excited to embrace!

To learn more, contact us today or download The Complete Guide to Organising your Virtual AGM.

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