General Meetings (GA) must be held at least once a year. This legal obligation can sometimes be problematic, especially in times of pandemic where gatherings are prohibited.

These events are difficult to postpone and sometimes require a quorum (minimum number of votes represented for the meeting to be held).

Forced to go through a virtual or hybrid meeting, some companies are lost when it comes to organizing their GA.

Define the objective of the GA

Before you start thinking about the format of your event and the features you want to use, think about your goal! Does your GA require a quorum? Are you going to take advantage of this opportunity to make it an opportunity to communicate with your members, members or delegates?

  • If your quorum is already reached through pre-voting or proxies to the president, then the issue is more about communication. Your General Meeting will allow you to renew contact with your members and to communicate on your prospects.

You will then need to create an event site and various email invitation or invitation campaigns for your contacts to communicate effectively. For this type of event, nothing is better than a video broadcast via a film studio. For smaller budgets, you can opt for your webcam or your videoconference room. In addition, you can use content sharing tools to broadcast adopted and rejected resolutions.

  • If your GA requires a quorum, it is imperative to think of a device that will allow you to reach it!

This requires a good digital communication strategy:

1 - Timing management

In order to maximize participation, and thus ensure that you reach a quorum, you will need to send impactful emails at the right time.

Here is an example of an effective email sequence:

- An invitation to attend the AGM on D-10, indicating the date, time, progress and duration of the AGM, as well as the possibility of pre-voting (if your rules allow it).

- A reminder on D-1 with the schedules, the connection link, and the protocol for the upload and voting.

- A last reminder 15 minutes before the digital download starts, so that guests can connect to the "live".

It is very important to check the click and open rates of your emails as you send out the campaigns. 

This will allow you to anticipate the number of connections on the day and thus your chances of reaching the quorum without risk. You can also provide a button "I participate in the GA" via a form embedded in your email invitation to D-10 in order to facilitate this monitoring.

2 - The user path

Who should attend your Shareholders' Meeting? Do you have auditors, members of your team or other non-voting guests? If the answer is yes, it is imperative to plan different user paths for these categories of guests. 

Indeed, they probably do not need to sign in and do not need to have access to the resolution voting tool.

Don't forget to communicate your rules to the selected provider so that they can ensure that the voting solution meets your specific requirements (notions of colleges or GAEC, proxies, pre-votes, elections, etc.).

3 - The structure of the "live" site

A virtual event is by definition attended by a multitude of guests all with different internet operators, smartphones and computers.

Your solution must be responsive and compatible with most devices. In addition, favor a simple and clean interface so as not to lose less tech-friendly users. 

The ideal is to have a background image, a banner reminding the name and date of the GA, a video replay and a resolution voting tool, all on the same page.

Pro Tip: If you want to broadcast content to your members, encourage post GA mailings to keep them focused on voting and video during the live event.

4 - Accompanying your guests

Attending a remote GA is not obvious for all your members. It is advisable to accompany them beforehand with an efficient and pedagogical communication. 

You should also plan for technical assistance on the D-day, so that they are not left out in the cold in case they have questions about logging on. 

Finally, a private chat with participants on your General Assembly site is ideal for managing requests and getting guests with a problem called back, especially when you are expecting more than 100 people on D-day!

Conclusion

Clearly define the purpose of the GA: is it simply to communicate about the vote and its results or to constitute a quorum of voters? Adapt your strategy accordingly. 

Don't forget that you will need a technical service provider and support throughout the process.