These 10 tips will make your general meeting a success

Kilchenmann Kilchenmann, 17 May 2019

Large auditorium with illuminated stage on which a podium stands and a large screen with three slides is displayed above it

10 tips from the pros on how to make your general assembly a success and leave a positive and lasting impression on the participants.

The Annual General Meeting is one of the central flagships of a company. Our 10 tips on how to make your general meeting a success are just what you need.

The annual general meeting is one of the most important flagships of a company. You have the opportunity to present your operating position, goals and values to shareholders. It is obvious that the margin for error is low on such an important occasion. Careful preparation is required.

At the same time, the general assembly has great potential as a marketing tool, which is often recognised but hardly ever exploited. It is often a dry affair at which final reports and annual accounts are dealt with. Those responsible are therefore challenged not only to ensure the success of the general meeting, but also to make it an attractive event.

At your general assembly, you shine with the targeted presentation of content, a participatory atmosphere and a smooth process. Offer your guests real added value. Find out how to make your event a complete success in the following 10 tips.

  1. Are there any legal principles for your general assembly?
    There are some legal principles to be observed when preparing, convening and conducting your general meeting. These differ depending on the legal form of the company. For example, the annual report with the annual financial statements, the annual report and possibly the consolidated financial statements must be available so that the general meeting can be convened at all. Find out in good time what preparatory work is required or, if you are unclear, contact a partner who can help you with legal or organisational issues. There are also providers who coordinate elections and votes at your general assembly and provide the necessary equipment.

  2. What is the right time for your general meeting?
    In many cases, the timing of a general meeting is prescribed by statute or law. Depending on a company's accounting year, general meetings often take place in spring. However, if your internal company structures allow it, it is a good idea to consider regional events when setting a date. It is also important to take into account participants' work schedules and possible follow-up plans so that the general meeting can be integrated into their daily routine.

  3. What is the right location for your general assembly?
    The number of expected participants is primarily decisive for the choice of location. If possible, you should draw on past experience. You should also consider which location suits your company and your shareholders. Depending on the industry, the location may be dignified or rather uncomplicated. But don't forget that the general meeting is alwaysa dignified occasion. The ambience on site is decisive. By the way, you should reserve the room of your choice a year in advance.

  4. What do I need to know about invitations to your general meeting?
    If this is not already done for you by a share register service provider, it is important that you take special care in preparing the invitations. These must arrive in good time, i.e. usually at least 20 days in advance. Allow sufficient time in advance for proofreading and printing the invitations. Make an effort to use concrete wording and an attractive description of the agenda. In addition to the enclosed agenda items, it must be specified until when further motions will be accepted. Participants will also thank you if you inform them about parking and transport options, the menu and accessibility.

  5. What other administrative preparations need to be made for your General Assembly?
    It pays to record preparations for the general assembly in a timetable - as with other projects. This way you ensure that the right things get attention at the right time. Budgeting should also be done at the beginning to keep an eye on the financial resources. Furthermore, you should look for catering options in good time. After all, if you eat well, you'll be in a good mood. It is imperative that you coordinate the catering with the location. Additional preparatory work concerns, for example, the circulation of various documents, such as the annual report. It is also of central importance that a detailed script for the entire event is prepared. This is usually done in cooperation with the external partners.

  6. What are the advantages of using a technical partner for your general assembly?
    You will appreciate knowing that the presentation technology is in good hands while you take care of the participants of your general assembly. Work with a competent technical partner who can optimally assess the conditions of a room and equip it with missing components. He will take full care of the set-up and installation of the necessary technology and coordinate all technical matters during the general assembly (with the exception of voting). With Kilchenmann you can count on the highest level of professionalism and many years of experience. A familiar relationship between company and technical partner simplifies the preparatory work and implementation.

  7. How do you prepare the crew for the General Assembly?
    A comprehensive briefing of the crew is absolutely necessary to bring everyone up to speed. At least once before the general assembly, all involved should meet in a room and open questions should be clarified. The more careful the preparatory work, i.e. the more meaningful the script and plans for the set-up are, for example, the less time the briefing of the crew will require. Although the general assembly as a whole is not "rehearsable", at least technical processes and transitions should be played through in the sense of a rehearsal run.

  8. How do you organise a varied general assembly?
    The course of a general meeting is largely fixed. The elections and votes alone can easily take uphalf the time. The presentation of the annual report and the annual accounts are also a fixed part of the meeting. Nevertheless, small things can be done to break out of dusty patterns. The introduction to the general assembly is particularly important. During the official part, it is a good idea to highlight and illustrate current, special milestones. Make sure that speeches are not longer than necessary and that PowerPoint slides are minimalist, designed to visually support what is being said. Unnecessary pauses should be avoided if possible. Show acts and guest speakers create variety and fill any empty time.

  9. How do you deal with mishaps at your AGM?
    Be prepared for all eventualities - no matter how meticulous your preparation. Possible uncomfortable questions from shareholders can be answered confidently with the right preparation. A "Q & A" or language rule ensures ideal preparation here. Emergency scenarios such as power failure and fire must be thoroughly examined. Develop possible measures together with the venue and external partners. But even minor incidents can upset your schedule. In any case, it is important to keep a cool head. Apart from that, be assured that not every mishap is perceived as suchby the participants.

  10. How can your General Assembly be remembered positively?
    Thanks to asmall welcome gift with practical value, the company expresses appreciation towards the participants right from the start. Offer your guests opportunities for participation to confirm their self-efficacy. In addition, activity motivates. This can be promoted with the room design, i.e. the seating arrangement and the position of the speaker podium. With the appropriate lighting and audio technology, speech intelligibility and legibility are ensured right to the back row of seats. Thanks to a simultaneous translation system, even foreign-language participants will havetheir finger on the pulse of what is happening. Afterwards, the focus will be on socialising. An aperitif-riche or networking dinner create an inviting platform for exchange and new acquaintances.

With a well thought-out script, a high-quality, technical infrastructure and a varied programme, your general assembly will stand out from the rest. 

Download a task list for organising your next event here.

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