Virtual shareholder meetings were one of the biggest trends during the coronavirus pandemic, but anecdotal evidence shows they could be here to stay.
According to Gartner, a global research and advisory firm, the world’s top leaders are rethinking how their employees work after reopening from the pandemic. Nearly half of these professionals (47%) said they’ll allow their employees to work from home permanently.
This poll reflects the growing corporate vacancy rates in North America. More offices are sitting empty than ever before, as Moody’s Analytics reports a record-breaking 19.4% vacancy rate across the board.
Large and small organizations are shuttering to save on overheads as their workforce works remotely, and they’re quickly adopting architecture that allows them to provide their services digitally.
Distance from the corporate workspace will continue your need for virtual meetings. But now a year into the trend, attendees expect a smoother, engaging experience.
To make sure you exceed these expectations, keep scrolling. Here are four best practices for shareholder meetings favored by investor relation professionals.
1. Share Clear Instructions
Stakeholders don’t want to wade through clunky, jargon-riddled communications before they arrive at your meeting. This dense language overly complicates your message and can leave your investors confused about how they can participate.
A major role of investor relations is learning how to optimize your investor relations strategy in a transparent, easy-to-understand way. You can do this by using plain English when sharing any proxy disclosures or instructions about submitting questions.
2. Run Through Rehearsals
Just like in-person events, any delays on your end during a virtual meeting will reflect poorly on your brand. To prevent these disruptions, make sure you provide adequate training for your team and give them time to familiarize themselves with your chosen platform.
If you’re working with an investor relations professional, this is the perfect opportunity to ask for their insight on any IR tools and services you’re using during the meeting.
4. Have IT Support On-Hand
Technical difficulties aren’t always your fault. Investors could face glitches and other problems on their own. However, you’ll want to provide adequate support for any attendees struggling to sign on or participate. You can streamline their experience by providing early access to your platform, so they’re comfortable navigating it on the big day.
You may also consider providing a live operator on the day of the meeting in case your attendees run into problems they can’t solve independently. This is a huge boon to any attendee who isn’t particularly tech-savvy.
5. Streamline Participation
A successful virtual event makes it easy for attendees to engage with your speakers and content. Before you go live, make sure your meeting platform streamlines any voting or Q&A portion of your live event.
You’ll want to make sure these actions are accessible and intuitive for most attendees, so keep things simple. Rather than have them open a new window or tab to participate, make these functions available on the main screen.
Simplicity is at the heart of most of these best practices. Do whatever it takes to streamline the experience for you, your team, and your shareholders.
By all indications, virtual meetings won’t disappear once the economy fully reopens. If you’ve integrated them into your normal operations, follow these best practices from here on in. They’ll help you deliver the best virtual experience for your shareholders — pandemic or not.