Top Tips for Running a Successful Annual General Meeting Part I - In-room Considerations

Considerations when planning the physical element of an Annual General Meeting

COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the meetings and events space as we have seen 41% of businesses in Australia pivot from traditional live events to a hybrid or virtual experience for good. As a result, the Australian government has passed legislation making hybrid AGM’s a permanent fixture in business. With this, comes added complexity as accommodating for those most eager for face-to-face contact as well as those who prefer to attend remotely can be a challenge for any business.

The effectiveness of the virtual component of a hybrid AGM is heavily dependent on the source, that being the space in which the meeting is physically conducted (usually) alongside an in-room audience.The following are considerations that should be considered when planning and organising the physical element of the meeting and the space involved.

Set Design & Layout

Thought needs to be given to the way that your AGM is laid out and designed. This will be greatly impacted by the technology you're using and how people will be interacting with it.

Placing screens in specific locations and ensuring that there is enough space for people attending live to be comfortable and not obstructed is vitally important. Having a simple non-distracting backdrop (media walls, branded set piece (one or two colours) or draping all work well) is ideal to ensure that the focus is on the stage and not what's going on behind it. This is essential for both the in-room and online audiences.

Camera Positioning

Ideally, the cameras used for filming the AGM should be positioned in a way that captures both the presenter as well as the atmosphere of the room to give the online audience a sense of the environment and allow them to feel more involved with the event (generally accomplished using a wide shot or multiple wide shots depending on the size of the space). Getting the angle of the shot right is key to ensuring that people feel engaged with proceedings.

The camera placement is also critical –too close and it can feel interrogative, too far back and it can be difficult for the online audience to feel engaged with the presenters.

Audience Engagement

Does the chairman and/or any speaking director have a clear line of sight with the camera? An autocue unit positioned in front of the camera is a great way to keep presenters on track and ensure that they're looking in the right direction to remain engaged with the remote audience.

During Q&A, it is more natural to engage with a questioner in the room than online, given the physical presence of the person. It can be hard to juggle both audiences, particularly when it comes to phone/online Q&A. To give the Chairman/directors a focus point a screen can be positioned directly under the camera (not too far down) with a silhouette of a person in the foreground, this will help the speaker maintain an eye-line with the remote audience and give them a focus point to refer to during remote Q&A sessions so that they can focus on answering the question and not their body language and eye placement.

A few practice sessions progressing from in-room to online/phone questions (and vice-versa) will help with creating a natural level of engagement for the speaker to transition from engagement with the in-room audience to the online audience.

Hybrid AGMs are evidently becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional in-person meetings, as they offer several advantages such as cost and time savings. To make sure your hybrid AGM is a success, be sure to follow the tips we've outlined in this article. These include making information accessible, using technology in a user-friendly way, ensuring that devices are compatible as well as our in-room recommendations for camera positioning, layout, and juggling engagement of both the online and in-room audience. Most importantly, remember that the tech should beused as a means of service to enhance the experience of your audience.

This is part one of our "Top tips to running a successful AGM" series. To view part two click here.