Preparing for an upcoming annual general meeting? An effective AGM meeting requires careful planning. We cover the basics.
Understanding how to run a successful annual general meeting proves crucial. That’s because AGMs are a strong convergence between management and shareholders. Properly running them sets the tone for the board of directors and the entire company.
As you plan for the general meeting, many pieces rely on whether the meeting will occur online or in-person. Either way, we’ve prepared a helpful guide to help you run a successful annual general meeting from the call to order to meeting adjournment.
What Is the Annual General Meeting?
An AGM is a yearly meeting between organizations and their shareholders. During the meeting, shareholders and the board of directors discuss business matters and address resolutions.
Participants question the board, vote on organization issues, choose new directors, and interact with each other. Shareholders evaluate the organization’s health when the board presents an annual report and annual financial accounts for approval. The meeting can be held in-person or remote on a virtual platform.
How to Run an Annual General Meeting
Running an effective and compliant AGM requires appropriate preparation and sticking to specific policies. The procedures are essentially similar to directors’ meetings. Follow these expert tips to hold an effective AGM.
Plan and Prepare
An annual general meeting requires meticulous preparation. Build a strong agenda (more on this later) and ensure all report presentations are detailed. Additionally, test the equipment that’ll be used for presentation and voting to avoid last-minute inconveniences.
When picking a venue, ensure it provides accessibility to all attendees. Document security and the privacy of attendees should also be guaranteed.
The preparation differs slightly if you are preparing for an online AGM. Find the right virtual AGM software by considering the following factors:
- Voting capabilities
- Security and encryption
- Integration with conferencing and management tools
Next, test the software’s virtual capacity. Calculate the expected attendees and ensure the meeting software can handle that capacity. Then, rehearse with the virtual meeting technology before the big day to ensure everything works smoothly.
Ensure all meeting links are working correctly and decide on the virtual meeting setup. Do you want all microphones on mute and cameras on? Most importantly, pre-plan for potential issues. For example, have alternatives should attendees’ connection to the virtual meeting become unstable.
Keep the Meeting Short
Schedule shorter meetings to help attendees stay engaged throughout the AGM. Sticking to a pre-established flow of events helps you cut unnecessary time during the meeting. Build the AGM agenda on a tight timeframe. If the meeting must be longer, split the agenda into sessions with breaks in between. This applies to both virtual and in-person AGMs.
Provide Meeting Materials in Advance
Distribute the meeting materials, like the board book, at least a week before the AGM to allow sufficient time for shareholders and directors to review them. This ensures participants come prepared to the meeting for maximum effectiveness.
Annual Meeting Agenda
An annual meeting agenda guides the AGM. Similar to a board meeting agenda, it acts as a compass for the general meeting to help the chair keep everything on track. The agenda should have a clear purpose for everyone to know why they are attending the AGM and what they are supposed to accomplish.
Typically, annual meeting agendas include the following components:
- Call to order: The meeting chairperson starts the meeting officially and sets clear expectations. For example, the chair can request all attendees to keep their cameras on throughout a virtual AGM.
- Reading and approval of the previous AGM meeting minutes: The attendees review and approve the minutes of previous meetings. Any issues from the shareholders concerning the previous AGM will be addressed in this stage.
Sharing the minutes of previous meetings in advance enables attendees to review them before the meeting. This reduces the time spent on the previous minutes during the actual meeting. As a result, the board and shareholders save time for more pressing matters.
- Presentation of the annual financial report: The board of directors presents the annual financial statements to solicit the shareholders’ approval. The presenter will declare the company’s annual profit and distribution in this part of the meeting.
Additionally, questions about accounting policies, financial audit reports, and processes will be answered in this stage. Set enough time for this agenda item. Attendees should receive this report beforehand to review them thoroughly to facilitate more constructive discussions in the meeting.
- Approval of the directors’ report: The board presents a detailed summary of the organization’s actions, highlights, and the board’s decisions for the past year. After the presentation, shareholders can approve and ratify the annual report. Alternatively, they can raise concerns about the report.
- Election of new board members: This is one of AGM’s main objectives. The election occurs according to the company’s bylaws.
- Changes to the company’s constitution: If concerns arise regarding specific policies, shareholders and directors can set motions to revise the company’s constitution. Sending the agenda early enough allows participants to review documents and proposals before voting on a revision.
- Handling resolutions: Business matters that need voted on are tackled in this stage. These resolutions should get to attendees before the meeting. Those that will be raised during the big day and cannot be addressed immediately can be postponed for another meeting.
A digital board book allows the board of directors and shareholders to access any meeting materials prior to the AGM, so they come prepared to discuss and vote on matters. In addition, notes can be taken in real-time.
Store, Manage, and Distribute Meeting Agendas with OnBoard
Running annual general meetings is less complex if you prepare properly and create a detailed agenda. It’s even simpler if you use a purpose-built board portal platform to power the meeting. OnBoard comes with the following features to streamline virtual and in-person annual general meetings.
- Agenda templates with drag-and-drop functionality
- Agenda time management to keep your meeting on track
- A central platform for storing, managing, and distributing meeting documents
- Full mobile accessibility for attendees to join the meeting from anywhere
- Advanced data security and encryption that protects data and delivers full disaster recovery and real-time geo-replication
- Secure voting features to record critical decisions and election results
Hold more effective and efficient board meetings. Request a free trial today of OnBoard to see the difference.
About The Author
- Director of Business Development and Government Strategy
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