Preparing for an Annual General Meeting (AGM) can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to ensuring that the meeting runs smoothly while complying with legal requirements and good governance protocols. The success of the meeting heavily relies on the Chairperson (Chair), who runs the meeting on the day, and it is crucial to prepare them adequately to avoid catastrophic consequences, such as disgruntled shareholders and reputational damage. Here are some tips for preparing your Chairperson for your next AGM.
Tip 1: Ensure the meeting is in the Chair's calendar
The first step is to ensure that the Chair has the meeting in their calendar. This step may seem trivial, but ensuring that the Chair is available and prepared for the meeting is essential.
Tip 2: Schedule a rehearsal
A few days before the AGM, schedule a rehearsal to iron out any technical difficulties, run through the Chair's script and ensure that the Chair is familiar with the procedures from start to finish. This rehearsal is also the perfect time to assign various responsibilities, such as who will take questions from shareholders and direct them to the Chair. Additionally, the rehearsal is the perfect time to test the Chair's camera and audio if the meeting is being streamed virtually.
Tip 3: Prepare a comprehensive script
The Chair's script is the dialogue between the company and its shareholders and needs to be prepared accurately. A comprehensive script should include the welcoming by the Chair, an explanation of how voting is to take place, the business of the meeting, how questions will be taken, and the reading out of the results of the voting. Without a properly prepared script, there is a high risk that the Chair may miss something vital, leading to unintended consequences.
Tip 4: Conduct the meeting professionally
The Chair should seek to strike a balance between ensuring that shareholders engage sufficiently and achieving the business of the meeting. There may be disruptive shareholders present, requiring the Chair to respectfully address them and move on to the next topic for discussion. It is important to adhere to good governance and promote effective engagement while avoiding dominating the proceedings in a way that hampers inclusivity.
By following these tips, you can prepare the Chair adequately and ensure that the AGM runs smoothly, promoting effective engagement and adherence to good governance. A successful AGM is highly dependent on an effective Chair leading the discussion who is well prepared, objective, and promotes shareholder engagement. Additionally, preparing the Chair adequately can avoid unnecessary criticism and reputational damage for the company. The AGM is the most important meeting held by a company each year, and it lays the foundation for shareholders to interact with top management. Therefore, it is crucial to prepare the Chair adequately to ensure a successful meeting.
AGM | Investor Relations