With all of the events of the past year, you’d be forgiven for feeling a little stuck when it comes to preparing for your AGM meeting this year. With restrictions still in place, the rise of the Virtual AGM may be the ideal solution for a problem that companies worldwide are currently pondering over.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, and the switch to online events, companies across all industries were making moves towards hosting their AGMs online. Not only does this make attendance easier for all shareholders and invested parties by dramatically broadening the geographic reach, it also lowers overheads for the overall event. It also gives the event producer and company host greater control over how the meeting progresses (after a year of Zoom meetings and calls, we are all familiar with the ‘mute’ and ‘share screen’ buttons by now!)
With that said, and with the end of the financial year upon us, we’ve pulled together a checklist of considerations for companies, as they move towards hosting their first virtual AGM.
As well as the statutory agenda, the AGM is a chance for everything to be discussed – from company finances to future plans, leadership decisions and more. As such, it is hugely important for your security to be of a high enough level that your event can’t be hacked into or streamed outside of your strict attendance list. Here at Wise Productions, we work with a number of platforms and systems that provide only the highest level of security, with some of the most popular options including a password-entry online event, the implementation of a robust registration system, and a unique invite link which works once – and only for the person who it was sent directly to.
There is no question that hosting a virtual or even a hybrid AGM can lower overheads – even with the sophisticated technology that is involved in bringing the event to life. This is because you essentially cut the cost of catering, refreshments and a physical venue almost instantly – things which, as most event managers will know, are the areas which add up and lead to large expense forms.
When it comes to a virtual AGM, factors which can influence cost include:
- The size of the event and how many attendees you anticipate – if nothing else, this can also alter which platform you use.
- Do you need to implement various tools for engagement, for example online polling and voting tools?
- Will you be bringing in an external production or technology company to run the backend of the live stream?
- Do you want to record the AGM meeting for future reference?
- Might you consider a hybrid AGM where, for example, board members meet in person – but adhering to current COVID protocol – and the rest of the shareholders dial in remotely?
To understand the cost bracket that your company AGM may sit in, our team is always on hand to navigate you through the complexities of the initial virtual event discussion and set-up. We strongly advise that a tech-savvy person is present at your initial planning stage, to give an idea of what’s feasible for the client, after all of the information has been presented.
3. Technology and Logistics
This may seem like an obvious one, but ensuring your technology is operating and running smoothly is integral to a successful and seamless virtual AGM. Especially if you are communicating with shareholders in far flung corners of the globe, consider the bandwidth and anticipate any technology challenges you may have in advance – so that you can prepare for them and put contingency plans in place.
A sure fire way to be as best prepared as possible is to rehearse the run through of the event and rehearse again, with everyone involved, so that nothing is left to chance on the day.
If you’re in any doubt about the technical logistics of your virtual AGM, we recommend bringing an external production company on board such as our team at Wise Productions, who will manage the backend technology throughout the meeting so that you are free to focus on the content and the important stuff.
This one corresponds with the biggest question we get asked: “how do I keep shareholders and attendees engaged, especially when they’re not even in the room?”.
This is something that companies and businesses of all sizes have struggled with over the last year, thanks to the great shift to online meetings. So, what have we learnt and what ideas can we take from everyday meetings, that can transfer into an AGM?
Now more than ever, content is paramount. Applying the correct level of style and delivery is significant, and should not be underestimated.
As such, consider the way you present the activity of the company over the past year. Graphs and spreadsheets are one thing, but with everyone’s eyes tuned on the screen for the duration of the AGM, this also presents a great opportunity to explore some more engaging presentations – such as highlight reel videos and video testimonials from staff on the ground. AGMs are a great opportunity to show shareholders the progress that has been made in the last year, and what better way to do that than to include some video footage from the frontline, speaking with the team themselves?
Better yet, consider inviting a few colleagues to speak about their role and how it has progressed and developed over the last business year. The more you can do to engage and change up the running order, the better.
Other forms of engagement include interactive polls for your audience to participate in, to hosting an animated video within your presentation to display data. Dependent on the industry and topics we will work with your team to suggest the most impactful ways of maximising audience engagement throughout your event.
5. Be Prepared
Just because your AGM is going to be held online, doesn’t mean you should compromise on preparation and creating a structured plan for how the meeting will run. In fact, having every attendee logging on from their own home makes a structure and plan all the more important.
We tend to find that those companies who create a plan and map it out in advance also see the highest attendee numbers, primarily because the act of sending the plan out in advance meant that attendees were reminded of the event.
The plan itself helps to keep everyone on the same page, provides your audience with some information about what is going to be discussed, and helps to keep the meeting moving seamlessly.
Is a virtual AGM right for my company?
Virtual and hybrid events are on the rise, and your company AGM shouldn’t be something that is compromised as a result of the ongoing pandemic. If you focus on the points discussed within this article, as well as any additional factors relating directly to your industry and organisation, a virtual AGM can help boost your engagement with key stakeholders and can help manage costs. If you have any questions at all on your proposed AGM meeting, our team are always on hand to help. You can call us on +44 (0) 20 8991 6922, or e-mail us on email@example.com.