As technology advances, associations continuously need to re-evaluate their processes in order to stay ahead of the curve and not seem out dated. AGMs are rarely known for being an exciting part of any association conference, and executives find themselves struggling to ensure quorum is met, often with bribes of food or additional professional development. Moving towards a virtual AGM offers more opportunities for participation, from the comfort of your office, reducing participation barriers by opening the meeting up to those who can’t attend live events.
Here are some of the learnings we gained after Redstone conducted a virtual AGM for one of our clients:
Determine Needs and Requirements
You’ll need a platform and a way for people to call in, as well as a way to allow people to track voting digitally, instead of the traditional method of members providing verbal consensus. Some platforms include polling already, allowing for a seamless integration.
Select the Tech
Make sure that whatever platform you choose, it includes the option to mute all participants, and unmute those who are speaking. You don’t want to run into an issue where there’s a lot of background noise or someone who doesn’t realize they’re unmuted, so control over the sound is important
Communication is Key!
Communication is key! Devise a communication strategy that is frequent and concise in order to detail what everyone needs to know in order to participate. The goal is to reduce barriers to participation, not create more. Create a guide to make it easy for them, and have them RSVP so you know in advance if you’ll meet quorum (but keep in mind about 30% may not show day of, even if they RSVP’d). Be mindful of time zones for those that are a National/International organization.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Book a rehearsal with everyone set to speak at the AGM. Practice unmuting and taking control of the presentation, as well as the polling feature. Practice makes perfect, and while almost nothing runs perfectly, it will help reduce the number of issues during the AGM.
As with any event, do a post AGM survey! Find out how it went from the attendee’s perspective, what could be done better, what issues anyone might have had (if any). This will help you refine and plan future virtual events.
By running a virtual AGM, you can reduce the stress at your annual conference, opening up more opportunities for other programming or a town hall.
Natalie Wallace, CAE
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