Tips for Hosting a Successful Virtual Annual General Meeting

With the ongoing pandemic, Annual General Meetings (AGM) are being held in a virtual environment using video conferencing. Video conferencing is a good option when meetings can’t be held in-person. Participants still have the ability to be heard and seen in real-time using online meeting platforms.

Now more than ever, it is very important to plan for your AGM well in advance. This includes setting the date, time, downloading or purchasing the necessary online meeting platform, and sending meeting materials and links to attendees at least a week before the AGM. Although you may be hosting your AGM within the comfort of your own home, you still want to maintain a professional presence.

Here are some tips on conference call/video etiquette:

  • The host should always have his or her device camera on, so dress appropriately and find an uncluttered space with good lighting to hold the meeting.
  • Make sure participants know ahead of time to mute their microphones unless it’s their turn to talk. The host should do the same. Muting microphones ensures a more stable internet connection and helps reduce unwanted background noise.
  • Most online meeting platforms include a chat function. Utilize it if you have questions so that the person speaking doesn’t get interrupted.
  • Encourage participants to turn on their camera and identify themselves when they are speaking. Doing so creates a more interactive experience for everyone.
  • Make sure that there is a conference call option for people who may have internet issues.

Attached below is a more detailed PDF guide to conference call etiquette.

Choosing a meeting platform

Listed below are some of the most popular online meeting platforms:

Meeting PlatformDescription
  Google MeetGoogle Meet is a video-communication service developed by Google. Anyone with a Google account can host an online meeting with up to 100 participants and for up to 60 minutes. Google Meet’s free features allows the user to host an unlimited number of meetings, includes live captioning, and controls for the host. Google also offers advanced plans, which include more features and an increased participant limit. Visit the Google Meet website to learn more.
    Microsoft TeamsMicrosoft Teams is a business communication platform and is part of the Microsoft 365 family. The free version of Microsoft Teams allows a participant capacity of 100 people and a maximum meeting duration of 60 minutes. Depending on your organization’s needs, Microsoft offers several other plans which have free 1-month trials. Visit the Microsoft website to learn about Microsoft Teams’ features.     
  ZoomZoom provides video and online chat services that are used for teleconferencing and telecommuting. With the free basic plan, you can host up to 100 participants, have unlimited one-on-one meetings, and group meetings for up to 40 minutes. Zoom also offers several other paid plans that can host up to 500 participants and allow transcript recordings. Visit Zoom’s website to learn more about plans and pricing.  

Virtual voting

The use of voting software enables participants to cast their votes or pass motions during an online meeting. You can organize this through the polling function in meeting platforms such as Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom. The polling feature allows an organizer to create multiple choice polling questions and launch them during the meeting. You can set the answers as “favour, opposed, or abstain” and once attendees pick an answer, their responses would be automatically sent to the organizer. They would be able to see the percentage of votes per answer and the percentage of attendees who have completed the poll.

One person in the organization should be delegated the polling manager. Their responsibilities will be setting up the polls, launching the polls, and sharing the results with the attendees during the AGM.

Here is the process to follow when conducting polls:

  1. Present the item on the agenda, make sure that if the item has been modified as part of the agenda, that the poll is updated before it is launched to avoid confusion.
  2. Send out the poll and ask participants to cast their votes. Allow enough time for participants to answer the poll before moving onto the next item on the agenda.
  3. When participants are done casting their votes, the polling manager should share their screen and present the results of the vote.

Technical difficulties are not uncommon during online meetings. Be sure to test your Internet connection before the meeting starts and test any equipment you may need to use during the meeting.

Keep your AGM as concise as possible and if you plan on having your AGM for longer than 90 minutes, have a set break time in your agenda to improve attendee attentiveness.

If you are in the process of planning for your AGM, read our AGM Preparation blog to make sure your meeting runs smoothly.


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