Virtual meetings are the only way for organisations to group and have formal discussions during the pandemic. Hence, annual general meetings are no exception.
A virtual AGM is a meeting between an organisation and its board members, or shareholders. Since results are reported, business is discussed and resolutions are voted on, it is very serious business. So, the virtual platform must provide a seamless experience so that your virtual annual general meeting is an absolute success!
In this blog, we will share with you all the essential details about a virtual AGM and provide effective solutions so that you can have a stellar AGM without any disruptions.
Guidelines for a virtual meeting
A virtual platform with the right technology and service provider can support an annual general meeting that is just as professional and effective as an in-person meeting if done properly.
Hosting an annual general meeting on a virtual AGM platform has a different set of rules and guidelines as opposed to a traditional shareholder meeting. Such rules must be strictly followed to make your meeting legal and successful.
The virtual event operator that is responsible for conducting the event must provide each participant with his fair share of time and opportunity to join in the discussion, pitch questions, clear queries, and vote on resolutions. So, your organisation must ensure that the appropriate technology is being used to facilitate the meeting and that participants are educated about how the virtual platform works.
A company must state the rules for participation during the virtual AGM
Companies must supply reliable virtual event technology and include detailed information on how to access the technology. Instructions must also be given for the protocol to be followed during the virtual meeting when a company sends out its notice-of-meeting to shareholders.
The notice-of-meeting should clearly explain matters such as:
- The date, time, duration, and access link for the virtual agm platform.
- The guidelines on how reasonable opportunity will be provided for commenting, asking questions, and voting on resolutions to the participants of the virtual meeting.
- How must a participant use the technology to watch, make comments, ask questions, and vote on resolutions?
In case, your company had sent out a notice-of-meeting before the pandemic then you must revise and send out a fresh notice-of-meeting 7 days prior to the annual general meeting.
Technology features essential for virtual AGMs
The technology platform and service provider of your choice must maintain the following:
- Have a steady and reliable connection that is suitable to support an annual general meeting to be conducted seamlessly. The live streaming technology must support a combination of live video and screen sharing so that you can see who is in attendance and chat with them through a secure chat function.
- The technology must support live Q&A sessions.
- The host of the event must ensure that only the participants with the right to vote cast a vote on resolution through an electronic voting solution. The solution must be integrated so that voting is secure and easy.
- You must give attendees the option to cast a vote live while the meeting takes place. It is similar to the protocol followed during an in-person annual general meeting. It must be done even if the option to vote prior to the virtual meeting is available.
Smooth operations during a virtual AGM
Technical issues are part and parcel of every virtual event. However, an expert virtual event operator must work closely with you to understand your requirements. He must run your event as per your instructions without your organisation having to worry about the technical workings of your virtual meeting solutions.
A reputed service provider will add value to your event through their infrastructure and proprietary software. It will add an extra layer of protection and prevent your AGM from getting derailed.
- Conduct a mock meeting test with your event operator prior to the day of the AGM. Include a number of your hosts and speakers and test the devices that will be used on the day of the event.
- You must have a backup solution in place such as a teleconferencing option. It is ideal in case of technical or internet related difficulties. The attendees can securely dial into the AGM through a telephone line.
- Attendees must be notified of the backup plan through the notice-of-meeting and subsequent follow-up emails.
A professional virtual event operator will guide you through all of the processes during the planning of the virtual AGM.
Privacy is crucial
There have been incidents where even well-known video conference providers have had their share of security flaws. So, it must be of top priority for organisations to be conscious of their privacy while choosing a video-conference service provider.
It is better to choose a domestic service provider with network infrastructure owned in-house and monitored 24/7. The virtual event platform must have multiple layers of security such as encoded URLs, secure HTTPS domains, and provision of unique access codes and PINs.
The process of voting
- The resolutions to be voted on must be organised with the event operator prior to the annual general meeting.
- The event operator must activate the online voting for those who have the right to vote, but he must only do so after receiving the cue from the hosts.
- The event operator will also provide a specific time frame for participants to cast their vote. The operator must also announce the resolution to those participating via phone as they will need to press a specific number on the keypad to cast a vote.
- Finally, the results are tallied and the process is repeated for subsequent resolutions.
Process for Q&A
- The event operator must open up the event to questions, after receiving a cue from the host. Participants must be allowed to ask questions only after raising their hand online or by pressing a specific button on their phone’s keypad.
- The host of the AGM must be given the authority to answer each question, speaking directly to the questioner.
Shifting from a physical to a virtual platform for an annual general meeting may seem challenging, but following the guidelines mentioned in this blog will help you have a seamless and secure AGM, time and time again.