How to hold a Virtual Live Meeting or an Annual General Meeting (AGM) - SENTEC

How to hold a Virtual Live Meeting or an Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Recently, we have had an increased number of clients inquiring about how to hold a virtual live meeting and/or a virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM).  With the world changing to remote capabilities, there is a greater need for ways to keep organizations’ running with remote experiences. A part of some organizations needs are to hold virtual meetings and virtual AGM’s. These are an integral part of some businesses. We believe our clients need a new way to hold these meetings, rather than the face-to-face that is normally done.  The interaction between partners, stakeholders, and members of organizations’ needs to happen in a new way. The following are step-by-step instructions on how to hold a one-to-many virtual meeting.
With these instructions, you will hold a successful meeting and have an increase in members attending; as well as, a seamless experience for member participants. These steps are focused on ensuring that the experience is positive and productive.

  1. Check organization bylaws and / or governing legislation: First, you need to check that your organization’s bylaws and/or governing legislation allow for virtual meetings and/or an AGM.
  2. Communication: Provide a lot of detailed communication to your members before the meeting; at least one month (if you are holding a virtual AGM). Post notice and meeting materials (meeting minutes from the prior meeting and any financial statements) on your website. You may want to send out a link to the video conference on all marketing material, providing clear instructions (screenshots and technical links are recommended). Send a calendar invite, if you are able, to ensure that members have a reminder in their calendars. Even with all this information provided in advance, review all the procedures again at the beginning of the meeting itself.
  3. Microsoft Live Event: Ensure your technology platform will support the expected number of users. We suggest using Microsoft 365 and Teams – Live Event; up to 10,000 attendees can participate. Microsoft can provide you with guidance and assistance to deliver your best live event broadcasts. Whether you are new to Live Events, or just want to become more familiar with it, Microsoft live event assistance is free to customers using Teams, Stream or Yammer. You will need a Microsoft 365 E1, E3, E5, A3 or A5 license (which includes Microsoft Teams) to hold a live event (one-to-many meeting). The person creating the event must be a member of the organization and can’t be a guest or from another organization.
  4. Event Team Roles and Responsibilities: There are four (4) key roles involved in running a live event: the Organizer, the Producer, the Presenter(s), and the Attendees.
    1. Organizer: Selects the event team members (Producer and Presenters), schedules the live event, configures the event permissions/settings and distributes invitations to attendees. They also need to setup any testing required before the event.
    2. Producer: There is one (1) producer; they send the event live and finishes the event. They control the event in process and ensure that the proper content and format is being presented. The producer can share their own video or screen and the video and content from the presenters.
    3. Presenter(s): You can have more than one (1) presenter. Each presenter presents their own audio, content (screenshare) or live video during the event. Presenter can also be a moderator, if you enable a live Q&A session.
    4. Attendees: These people can either be internal or external, depending on if the event is private or public, respectively. If the event is public, attendees can view the event as ‘anonymous’ and can set a name for themselves during the event.
  5. Privacy Policy: If you will be recording the AGM, remember to notify all participants that you will be doing so, and deploy the recording function locally. There is a Privacy Policy in Microsoft Teams that can be deployed to everyone in attendance.
  6. Configure the meeting: Configure the meeting to mute all participants upon entry (but allow participants to unmute themselves). This will reduce or remove all background noise at the beginning of the meeting. There is a Mute All button on the lower right of the producer’s screen in Microsoft Live Event. ‘Turn off incoming video’ from attendees to reduce bandwidth usage. To provide access to attendees that may have hearing disabilities, you can ‘Turn on Live Captioning’ in Microsoft Teams. This will transcribe what anyone says and display it as a live caption in the lower left of the meeting screen.
  7. Audio Conference Only: Depending upon the system that you use, some members dialing in by telephone must be manually muted – check how this will work with the system you choose.
  8. Monitors for presenters: If possible, have two (2) monitors for presenters: one so that they could see their presentation as members were seeing it, and another so that they could see the chat activity and number of members attending.
  9. Voting: You can vote a number of different ways. You can apply a protocol where only members wishing to vote ‘nay’ were asked to vote over audio during the meeting. You can also create a poll/form before the meeting to send out to attendees to open the voting and the results would be calculated automatically with using Microsoft Forms and Microsoft Automate.
  10. Contingency Plans:   
    1. Fire alarm: check with your building to ensure there are no fire drills scheduled.
    2. Set up alternative conference equipment and/or room as fail over protection.
    3. Set up back-up host and presentations laptops.
    4. Test all contingency plans!
    5. Verify connectivity to back-up network connection.
    6. Ensure all presenters are aware of contingencies and what they should do in the event of a failure.
    7. Make sure you have a plan to determine what you will do if you do not achieve quorum, or if members drop off.
    8. Ensure that you have staff available to support members who may be having technology difficulties, and train those staff on how to respond to and how to contact the video conference moderators during the meeting.
    9. Provide support contact information to all members as part of meeting materials.
    10. Ensure the support phone is staffed one hour before the meeting and throughout the meeting.
  11. TEST, TEST, TEST. Test everything from the layout of the presentation slides to the backdrop and clothing of the speaker(s) (no large checks or stripes). Go through plenty of rehearsals with the technology before the big day. Microsoft Teams allow you to blur the background, and this is a great idea if you think anything will be distracting.
  12. Rehearsal: During testing, run through the entire meeting and fine tuning as needed.
  13. Again….TEST, TEST, TEST: Test until you feel confident that your virtual meeting (AGM) will run smooth. And to feel comfortable with how things will work and that takes lots of practice.
  14. Test Sound one (1) hour before the meeting with external test users. To prevent audio feedback, ensure speakers within the broadcast room are NOT connected to the video conference technology.
  15. Test Video one (1) hour before meeting with external test users.
  16. During the Meeting: It is recommended that you have a detailed outline that provides speaking parts and notes for presenters. Everything should be prepared well in advance of the meeting.
  17. Post Meeting (AGM): Meet with the team immediately after the meeting to discuss how things went.
  18. Questionnaire: We also recommend sending out a survey to the attendees to get feedback on how they thought the meeting went.

Next Step: How to Run a Microsoft Live Event

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