Annual General Meetings (AGMs) are not always the most exciting of occasions, and are often attended out of a sense of duty rather than with any genuine enthusiasm. It may be a legal requirement, but it should be more than a formality and there is no reason why your AGM should be a dry and dull affair.
An engaging AGM that goes beyond the required minimum content reflects well on the company and nurtures positive relationships with stakeholders. Here are some tips for holding a well-attended and successful AGM.
Define the goals
To make sure that your AGM is well structured, define the aims and objectives of the meeting well in advance. For example, do you want to vote on certain issues, elect new board members, or highlight certain achievements to trustees and shareholders? Keep it streamlined and avoid anything not strictly necessary.
There are certain obligatory items on the agenda but these don’t need to be presented as a dry list of facts and figures. Combine more routine information with some stories about how and why the company was formed in the first place, and what its goals and vision for the future are.
Choose a central location
If you are a larger organisation with members and stakeholders across the country and/or overseas, it is important to choose a central location that is well connected to the transport network to encourage a good turnout.
A purpose-built venue for corporate away days is ideal, because it will have a range of room sizes on offer that are fully equipped with the most up-to-date conferencing facilities and technology. The venue should also have good break-out areas that encourage socialising and networking during refreshment periods.
Promote the event well in advance
The event should be planned at least six months in advance, with potential guests given plenty of notice. This will encourage maximum attendance and give you an opportunity to build up some anticipation around the event on social media and so on.
Vary the presentation styles
Larger companies will have a lot of unavoidable legal and administrative items on the agenda. However, to avoid a monotonous experience, it is important to break up the agenda into digestible sections rather than try to deliver large chunks of information in a similar format.
Line up different speakers who are skilled at delivering to diverse audiences, and include audiovisual aids and other multimedia to liven up the event.
Encourage audience participation
Use interactive technology to include everyone in the room in the proceedings, such as live polling and other audience engagement apps. These help to keep people engaged and focused, and they are more likely to enjoy and retain the content of the meeting.
Have a hybrid event
If poor turnout has been an issue in the past, consider making the AGM accessible for online attendees. Most venues will now have the technology in place to make this possible without a lot of extra work and effort, and it will help to reinforce the message of your company as a forward-thinking and inclusive brand.