1. Give notice of the meeting
Make sure everyone knows in plenty of time when and where the meeting is, so they can attend, either in person or online. Consider how members are going to be authenticated into the meeting in either scenario – and when is the best time to communicate this – as part of the notice of meeting, or at a later date.
It is vital to address pre-voting at the beginning of the process. Are you going to allow your members to vote in advance of the meeting, as well as having the voting open during the meeting itself? Having a longer window of time in which to cast votes is likely to lead to a much higher percentage of shareholders actually voting, and increases inclusivity and engagement.
3. Establish how you’re going to broadcast it
Will the webcast be streamed live, or would you prefer to just show slides and have audio of the discussion? It’s important that your technology partner can ensure consistent, quality video and audio so that the remote participants have the same experience as in-room attendees.
4. Questioning etiquette
Establish how you will manage questions both for those in the room, and virtual participants. Will those in the room be able to speak in person, and will those attending remotely be able to send in questions, how will you moderate questions? Consider possibly grouping similar questions around the same topic.
5. What about voting?
If you have voting during your annual meeting, it’s important that everyone gets to cast their vote. Electronic voting makes the process more transparent and trackable, boosting trust and engagement in the process.
6. How to handle an ad-hoc resolution
Do you have procedures in place or an item on the agenda to deal with a resolution that is tabled out of the blue or as a result of what happens in the meeting?
7. Consider how to prepare the board
Ideally, prepping the board should comprise at least an in-person briefing but many companies instead choose to run a mock meeting to test out the script and make sure that everyone knows what to expect.