The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the use of technology to accelerate at an unprecedented rate across various demographics, industries and organizations worldwide.

While this progression has been trending upwards for years, the pandemic and the need to adapt to corresponding restrictions has triggered a widened adoption of technology at a previously unimaginable rate, with governance meetings, such as Annual General Meetings (AGMs) being no exception.

What initially began as a requirement to ensure legislative deadlines were met and normal operations could resume; the transition from live, in-person events to virtual AGMs has since been fully embraced by many organizations. In many cases, virtual AGMs have now become the preferred method for conducting an AGM for all parties involved, including; attendees, organizers and facilitators, despite easing restrictions and the return to pre-pandemic normalcy in regions worldwide.

While unforeseen by some, this shift to virtual AGMs is for good reason, as conducting governance meetings such as an AGM virtually has several benefits compared to live, in-person events. From improved efficiency and increased accessibility to reduced cost, here's how organizations are benefiting from conducting their AGMs virtually.

What is a virtual Annual General Meeting?

A virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) is an Annual General Meeting that is conducted through the use of electronic means. The format of a virtual Annual General Meeting mirrors that of an in-person Annual General Meeting; however, electronic means such as webinar software and electronic voting tools are used to conduct the meeting virtually.

Virtual AGMs often cost less than in-person meetings.

Conducting an in-person AGM can be a rather costly endeavor. From renting a venue and ordering catering to flying in and providing accommodations for key personnel or speakers, the cost of conducting an in-person meeting can add up rather quickly. For those who have a history of low turnout, these costs can increase significantly if quorum is not achieved on the first attempt.

On the contrary, in most cases, the only somewhat notable cost of conducting your AGM virtually is associated with the platform you decide to conduct your meeting with, which often comes at a fraction of the cost compared to the expenses associated with in-person meetings. Paired with the reduced printing and mailing cost that comes with a switch to electronic voting and notice distribution, virtual AGMs are a much more cost-effective method of conducting an AGM compared to an in-person style event.

Holding AGMs virtually increases accessibility, often leading to increased participation.

For organizations that regularly struggle to achieve quorum, finding ways to increase meeting participation becomes a top priority when planning their AGM. While many organizers have tried to incentivize eligible attendees to attend in-person meetings in various ways, the increased meeting participation resulting from the increased accessibility virtual AGMs have to offer is largely unmatched.

Virtual AGMs provide participants with the ability to attend meetings from virtually anywhere. This increased level of accessibility often translates to a significant increase in participation, especially amongst those in remote locations or who have health issues or disabilities that limit their ability to attend in-person AGMs.

To put this in perspective, on average GetQuorum clients see a 60% increase in participation and oftentimes achieve quorum well in advance of the meeting itself. This increased participation is directly related to the streamlined processes and increased accessibility resulting from conducting an AGM virtually with the use of a hosted virtual meeting solution.

Virtual AGMs are more efficient than in-person meetings.

One of the most common complaints we hear about in-person AGMs pertains to meeting efficiency. To often, participants will allot the initially scheduled hour or two for an in-person AGM, only to quickly realize that the meeting will significantly surpass the scheduled time. Frustrating for all those involved, this inefficiency often stems from two key meeting processes: attendee registration and live, in-meeting voting. This is because the processes of manually taking meeting attendance and tabulating and scrutinizing votes are both time-consuming processes that are susceptible to delays. When these delays occur, they can significantly impact the overall efficiency of the meeting.

By transitioning to virtual AGMs and leveraging a solution such as GetQuorum’s Hosted Virtual meeting solution, meeting facilitators can automate processes such as attendee registration as well as the tabulation and scrutinization of votes. This automation helps to streamline these processes and prevents potential delays, which improves meeting efficiently significantly as a result.

Virtual AGMs provide a more inclusive environment for attendees.

In comparison to in-person meetings, virtual AGMs often provide a more inclusive environment for meeting attendees. This inclusive environment often results in increased attendee engagement and is amplified when a virtual AGM is conducted using a fully moderated, Hosted Virtual Meeting solution, like the one offered by GetQuorum.

Often, in-person meetings are dominated by a handful of individuals, limiting attendees' ability to participate equally. By conducting your AGM virtually, key components such as live voting or the Q&A period can be moderated, creating a more inclusive environment that provides all attendees with an equal opportunity to actively participate in the meeting.

Virtual AGMs are more secure than in-person meetings.

One of the most common concerns regarding virtual AGMs is security. While an understandable concern, the level of security seen in virtual AGMs often surpasses that of any in-person meeting. Solutions such as GetQuorums Hosted Virtual Meeting solution offers multi-factor authentication, API integration, IP tracking and secure voting tools. These advanced security features provide meeting participants and organizers with an unparalleled level of security throughout the meeting, including key areas such as voting and attendance tracking.

Ready to conduct your next AGM virtually?

If you'd like to learn more about how our Hosted Virtual Meeting solution or other services can help you reap the benefits of a virtual Annual General Meeting, click here.

If you'd like to use our Hosted Virtual Meeting solution for your upcoming Annual General Meeting, get in touch with our team!