The Rise of Virtual Shareholder Meetings: VAGMs are here to stayJanuary 19, 2022 7:57 pm
In 2021, we saw glimpses of hope and change for businesses: A shift from the direct effects of the global pandemic to a world where fear lessened, groups started to gather, and optimism arose for a post-pandemic era.
The Delta and Omicron variants have wreaked havoc across the globe, and now we face a continued virtual reality. With the astronomical rise of virtual annual general meetings (VAGMs) propelled by Covid-19, we can provide many lessons learned, and move forward.
Welcome to 2022!
A Virtual Shareholder Meeting Checklist Built to Ensure Success
This checklist combines Issuer Direct’s best practices from decades of annual meeting experience, and expert guidance as you prepare for a 2022 annual meeting that is either entirely virtual, or includes a virtual component with an in-person gathering.
3 Core Principles for your Virtual Annual Meeting:
- Create a welcoming environment which encourages broad shareholder participation
- Provide ample opportunity for investor and board member engagement
- Optimize your technology to facilitate increased dialogue and feedback, and provides a repository of resources for your audience
Company training and rehearsals
Showing up prepared to your VAGM is arguably the most important key to a successful meeting. To ensure your team is prepared, rehearsed and ready to present, below are six tips to keep in mind during your planning process:
- Provide a schedule and checklist for all presenters to include:
- Meeting Date & Time
- Presentation Schedule
- Dress Code & Tips
- Background Requirements
- Technical Requirements
- Schedule a training and rehearsal for all speakers participating in the meeting. It is essential that the rehearsal includes all participants together, to ensure timing, handoffs, and fluid, consistent messaging.
- Arrange technical support to be available during the meeting, should there be any unexpected IT challenges.
- If a presenter is unable to attend the meeting, offer the option of providing pre-recorded audio or video of the presentation they would have otherwise delivered.
- Review your responses for Q&A to ensure that all presenters are consistent with the agreed-upon messaging, process, and procedure when responding to shareholder and investor questions.
- Request that all presenters sign into the meeting 15 minutes prior to the start time, to evaluate connectivity and resolve any technical issues.
VIRTUAL MEETING PLATFORM
Decide whether to use video or audio-only
While audio-only technology is certainly an option for your virtual meeting, the use of video will create on opportunity to host a much more engaging session with your shareholders and investors. When considering your virtual platform, ensure that your partner offers you the following:
- A fully customizable and branded experience
- Password protected authorization
- Multi-presenter streaming capability
- Interactive polling and Q&A
- A repository for downloadable resources
- Event Analytics and Feedback
- Device and browser agnostic capabilities
Spending ample time to rehearse and train your presenters will likely result in a flawless virtual meeting.
Below are additional tips to help your audience understand exactly how the meeting will run:
- Explain how the company will proceed with their Q&A session; determine the length of the Q&A, and how the company will answer all additional questions, should time run out.
- Provide specifics as to the number of questions a shareholder may ask.
- Ask shareholders to identify themselves prior to asking their question.
- Always repeat the shareholder question, so the rest of the audience hears it clearly and accurately.
- Wrap up, thank everyone for their time and participation, and make everyone aware that recordings will be available to view on your site, including when they will be available online.
Now that you have run a successful meeting, you want to ensure that your audience has all the resources necessary to reference any of the content that delivered during the meeting. Be sure to:
- Post a video recording on your site within a reasonable amount of time providing easy access for your shareholders and investors
- Post all questions and answers that were discussed during the meeting
- Provide a full transcript of the meeting
Now you are ready and prepared for your 2022 Virtual Annual Meeting!