Planning your Hybrid AGM: Practical Considerations

Background

Setting up the processes for a Hybrid AGM and other general meetings will include catering for those attending in person as well as those attending online. Organisations looking to implement a hybrid approach will look to ensure systems, administration, processes, stakeholders, and their articles are aligned to deliver a smooth meeting for all. Below, we will look at some of the key considerations as part of an implementation process.

Articles

Your articles are a good starting point, these will detail the extent of what you might be able to implement at your next general meeting. Key questions to answer in your article clauses include:

  • Can members join the meeting remotely?
  • Are AGM participants able to vote remotely, and what format does the voting process take?
  • How is the quorum calculated?
  • Do members have the right to ask questions during the meeting?

It maybe you require governance advice on your articles to determine if they cover any intended process.

Members expectations

You want your members to be both confident and comfortable with any system you are thinking of implementing, specifically for remote attendees. If you have already undertaken remote, virtual or hybrid AGM meeting processes, you may wish to keep those in place so that members have a sense of familiarity. Many organisations used Zoom during the pandemic for virtual meetings, if so, it would make sense to consider using online meeting systems that integrate with Zoom. Providing an online AGM platform user guide to members ahead of the meeting is also recommended. If you are implementing a new AGM process, then try to convey this to members in good time before the meeting, so they can be prepared and know what they are going to be doing on the day.

Systems and Facilities

For those attending in person, think about the room size, facilities at the venue (parking, transportation links, coffee/tea, registration desk, Wi-Fi, access restrictions, screens/projectors, cameras, speakers, and microphones) and the number of staff required to manage/host the process. Use of a laptop with a member/attendee database or list is useful for the registration desk process. Also, for any Q&A session, think about how those joining remotely might see and hear questions from members in the room, and how members in the room would see and hear the remote AGM participants.

For those attending the general meeting remotely, aspects to consider include how they gain access to the AGM and ensuring only those allowed to attend do so. This is particularly important for calculating the quorum and voting processes, ensuring each attendee only casts votes upon items they are entitled. You will also want the members joining remotely to fully interact at the meeting as if they were there, so using systems that allow them to be seen and heard will be crucial to engagement and successfully running a hybrid AGM.

Voting

How members vote at the hybrid AGM will determine if you can announce results in real time after each votes are cast, before moving onto the next topic, or if results are collated and announced at the end of the hybrid general meeting. If all members use digital processes to vote, regardless of if they are in the room or not, then it should be possible to show the results near instantly, providing a seamless AGM process and keeping the flow of the meeting going. A third party independent scrutineer will likely be used to manage, verify and count the votes cast at the meeting (virtually and in person) including any proxy votes cast ahead of the meeting.

Audio/Visual (AV)

Many organisations will require the help of an AV company to assist in the production of the AGM as the meeting is a key member engagement process for the organisation. An AV company will be able to setup speakers, screens and microphones in the room and control the audio from the various microphone inputs, as well as controlling the visual inputs based on the script (presentations/videos/split screens/remote attendees, etc.). Having a roving mic for questions in the room and a camera that can focus on the room, or person asking the question may need to be considered.

Rehearsal

A key stakeholder is the Chair of the meeting and having a script for the meeting will assist them along with any staff managing the meeting. Keeping to a script is key for a smooth meeting process. It maybe the first time that the Chair has undertaken a hybrid meeting so it is recommended a rehearsal is undertaken that includes the AV company covering some of the key aspects including: how voting will occur, the process for announcing results, how Q&A sessions will be managed and what things will look like for a digital member and how any presentations/other speakers will be able to be seen, heard.

Summary

Checking and confirming your articles allow for a Hybrid AGM would be the first step. This may also highlight any constraints in running the meeting ensuring it conforms with your governance requirements.

The success of your hybrid AGM will depend on the member and participantse  experience. With careful planning and rehearsal, the meeting will run smoothly allowing all members to be involved, irrespective of if they are in the room or attending virtually. Therefore, key consideration regarding what is seen and heard at each point during the meeting is key. Having experienced partners (Voting and AV) will help, along with a Chair who understands the process/script and support staff who can effectively manage all administration processes on the day.

UK Engage

Our experienced team can offer help with any of the practical issues detailed above for your next Hybrid AGM.  Contact us on 0161 209 4808 to discuss your needs.

 

 

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