Planning and rehearsing your hybrid or virtual AGM is critical — just as it is for physical AGMs — to ensure they run smoothly, both for executives and shareholders.
There are a lot of moving parts in an online AGM, so it’s important to ensure your rehearsal covers your presenters and the stability of their broadband connection, as well as the technology platform itself, and the interactive elements that give remote shareholders a reasonable opportunity to participate.
A best-practice approach to rehearsing your event should include:
- broadband connectivity tests to help determine the format and the technology you’ll use to broadcast your AGM
- a full rehearsal about a week in advance of the actual AGM to test every aspect of the presentation, and
- technical tests just prior to the event itself.
From a technical point of view, a stable broadband connection for all your speakers is key for a video-based virtual AGM, otherwise you risk transmitting glitchy pictures or, worse, losing audio.
If you’re presenting from your office, and large numbers of people will be live-streaming the event, talk to your virtual event supplier or livestreaming provider to make sure your local network connection will be able to handle the likely volume of traffic.
You should also conduct broadband connectivity tests with any remote speakers presenting from home to be sure their broadband connection is stable.
You’ll need to test this well in advance of the actual event to ascertain whether video is the best format — in case of unstable internet, some speakers may opt to do an audio presentation with slides, over a mobile connection if required. Talk to your virtual AGM supplier to see if they offer a combined teleconferencing and web- or video-conferencing to facilitate this.
If your presenters are presenting from home you may need to provide advice about how to improve connectivity, or how to set up their presenting space to provide a more professional look.
It’s important to train your presenters on the precise technology they will be using to manage the online and interactive components of the event, even if they are used to running online meetings, as not all event platforms are the same.
If your speakers are presenting to slides, either from home or from their own office, they will need to know their way around the webinar platform you’re using so they can move their own slides. Talk to your technology provider about the training they provide.
A week before your virtual AGM, it’s a good idea to book time with your moderator, presenters and event platform for a full run-through to test the content, structure and technology you plan to utilise during the actual event.
Everyone should have a run-sheet, so it’s clear what the agenda and flow of the event will be. If you’re broadcasting from a studio, your studio producer will need one to know when to move slides, launch polls and play any pre-recorded video.
It’s very important that your moderator or Chair makes it clear at the start of the meeting when and how votes and questions will be handled, so you need to know the structure works well.
Ensure your Chair has a paper copy of the agenda to hand, as well as access or login information to the event platform. They need to be very clear about where they are in the agenda at all times to make it easy for shareholders to follow events.
During the rehearsal, you’ll want to be sure your remote presenters know how to operate your online meeting platform, and your Chair will be able to test their segues and transitions.
It’s critical to practise the use of interactive elements — particularly Q&A, comments, voting and vote tabulation — and any technology you’re using to capture them.
Finally, if you’re presenting from a studio, your studio producer will ascertain during the rehearsal exactly which parts of the proceedings the presenters will control, and what the technicians will need to do.
Discover the crucial role of a moderator in this blog post!
On the day
All your presenters should congregate online well ahead of the event start time to test their broadband connection one more time and iron out any last-minute technical issues.
A thorough approach to rehearsing your virtual AGM will minimise risk and ensure your shareholders get all the information they need and opportunities to participate on the day.
For more information on how to manage your virtual or hybrid AGM, reach out to Redback Connect.