How to Host a Shareholder Meeting (Step-by-Step)

  • By: Josh Palmer
  • June 20, 2024
Shareholder Meeting
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Hosting a shareholder meeting is a critical aspect of corporate governance, ensuring that shareholders are informed, engaged, and able to exercise their voting rights. When hosting a shareholder meeting, meeting preparation is key to ensuring conversations remain purposeful, efficient, and compliant with enforced standards.

Whether you’re hosting an annual general meeting or an extraordinary general meeting, follow these steps to keep the meeting organized, productive, and compliant with regulatory requirements. 

What is a Shareholder?

A shareholder (also known as a stockholder) is a person, group, or company that owns at least one share of an organization’s stock. You can become a shareholder by investing in the company, obtaining shares from incumbent shareholders, or subscribing to the company’s constitution during the incorporation process. Holding stock gives shareholders equity in the business and a number of governance rights, including the right to vote during a shareholder meeting.

Most companies offer stock in two forms: common stocks and preferred stocks. Per the name, common stock is more prevalent than preferred stock, and what most investors acquire on the stock market. Investors with common stock have full voting rights, while preferred shareholders do not. In exchange, investors with preferred shares have a priority claim to dividends, meaning that they are paid before common shareholders. Common shareholders are last in line to get paid after creditors, bondholders, and preferred stockholders. 

Types of Shareholder Meetings

The main types of shareholder meetings include:

General Meeting

A general meeting is any regularly scheduled gathering where a quorum of shareholders meets to discuss business topics and address resolutions in accordance with company bylaws and current regulations. 

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

An annual general meeting (AGM) is a yearly meeting between shareholders and the board of directors. AGMs are mandatory events for private and public companies and require a notice period of at least 21 days. The notice period can be shortened if all shareholders with the right to attend and vote consent to doing so. 

During these meetings, corporate board members present annual financial reports and accounts to be ratified by shareholders. Shareholders can also question board decisions and vote on the appointment, election, or removal of company directors. 

Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM)

An extraordinary general meeting (EGM) is a meeting called by the board of directors to address an urgent matter (e.g. a merger, acquisition, or crisis situation) that the organization cannot wait to discuss at the AGM. 

How to Host a Shareholder Meeting

Follow these steps to host a shareholder meeting. 

1. Preparation and Planning

A successful shareholder meeting is built on a well-crafted plan. The first step is to determine the date, time, and location for the meeting. It’s important to keep state laws and bylaws in mind when choosing a setting, in addition to the practical difficulties if shareholders are required to travel to a venue. 

The host should also create a meeting agenda that lists the central topics that attendees can expect to discuss. This sets expectations and helps participants organize their own preparations for the shareholder meeting. 

2. Engagement and Communication

Effective engagement and communication are key to a productive meeting. Send notice of the meeting and an agenda to all shareholders and other relevant parties who are invited to attend the meeting at least two weeks in advance. 

If the meeting is taking place online or in a hybrid setting, use your organization’s preferred video conferencing tools and send attendees a link to access it properly. Also, be sure to test the software’s capacity to ensure it can handle the expected number of attendees. 

3. Presentation and Delivery

Once the meeting begins, the host must work to ensure the conversations are as engaging and productive as possible. Use visual aids, such as slides and charts, to highlight key points.

A strong sense of pace can help to focus everyone’s mind. Shorter meetings that mostly stick to the agenda lower the possibility of unhelpful arguments or tangents. If the meeting has too many topics to discuss in a short time frame, you can split the agenda into sessions with built-in breaks so each talking point gets the required attention. 

Work should also be done to keep all lines of communication among attendees open during the meeting. For example, if the meeting takes place in a virtual setting, find alternative ways for shareholders to connect if they have any connection issues. Communication is improved by keeping accurate records of all meetings in corporate minutes.   

4. Facilitation and Moderation

A well-facilitated meeting encourages participation and ensures the discussion stays on track. Appoint a skilled moderator to manage the flow of the meeting, address any disputes, and ensure all voices are heard. 

Use a timer to keep agenda item discussions on schedule. Anything that needs further discussion can be noted in the meeting minutes and added to the next meeting agenda.

5. Follow-Up and Feedback

Once every agenda item has been discussed, the host can ask attendees if there’s any additional business they would like to bring forward. This can help set priorities for the next meeting. 

After the meeting is over, a copy of the board meeting minutes should be reviewed and distributed to all relevant parties. The host should also send a follow-up email to get feedback on ways to improve the structure of future meetings and receive any questions about the business. 

OnBoard Powers Corporate Boards

Shareholder meetings are vital to the management of all businesses. Creating a meeting agenda, collecting relevant information, and ensuring the meeting operates smoothly requires diligent planning and follow-through.

OnBoard’s board portal software can help your organization stay organized and streamline meetings of all types, including shareholder meetings and closed board meetings. Its extensive set of features is designed to help boards at every step of the process, from agenda planning to voting and recording minutes. 

Download our free Board Meeting Minutes Template for further examples of how OnBoard can help your organization achieve its governance goals. 

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Efficiently track and document board decisions with our Meeting Minutes Template

About The Author

Josh Palmer
Josh Palmer
Josh Palmer serves as OnBoard's Head of Content. An experienced content creator, his previous roles have spanned numerous industries including B2C and B2B home improvement, healthcare, and software-as-a-service (SaaS). An Indianapolis native and graduate of Indiana University, Palmer currently resides in Fishers, Ind.