September 9, 2022 Published by South Alberta Chapter - By Mark DiPinto

How to Run a Great Virtual AGM

From the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of the CCI South Alberta CCI Review

Over the past two years, Condominiums and HOAs (Home Owners Associations) across Alberta have needed to alter their Annual General Meetings (AGMs) drastically. Traditionally held in-person and heavily dependent on paper-based voting, the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding restrictions on gatherings have forced communities across the province to move away from in-person meeting formats and transition to electronic voting and virtual meetings.

Initially viewed as a temporary practice until the situation improved by some, many communities have since recognized the upside of using technology for their meetings. As a result, we have seen virtual meetings quickly becoming the preferred method for conducting governance meetings, such as AGMs for all parties involved, despite easing restrictions and our return to pre-pandemic normalcy.

And while legislation has changed, technology has evolved, and many communities have experience holding at least one meeting virtually, meeting organizers should always ensure they take the proper steps to ensure their AGM is a success. With that said, here are a few tips for running a successful virtual AGM.

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.

Attendee Experience is a Top Priority

When planning a virtual AGM, ensuring that all attendees have a positive meeting experience should be a top priority. And while simply having attendees join a live stream of the meeting through standalone webinar software might appear adequate, it is wholly insufficient for a majority of AGMs. Without a solution with a feature set that can accommodate your communities unique requirements and a designated moderator to ensure the meeting is organized and runs according to plan, providing attendees with a positive meeting experience is a daunting task.

a designated moderator to ensure the meeting is organized and runs according to plan, providing attendees with a positive meeting experience is a daunting task.

Tracking Attendance Accurately is a Must

Accurately tracking meeting attendance is not only required to determine whether or not quorum has been achieved at your meeting. Knowing exactly who is at your meeting is essential to ensuring the integrity of voting results and preventing fraudulent activities.

And while many Property Managers and board members may initially think that they can simply track attendance manually using the attendance tracking feature commonly found in standalone meeting platform’s, without a solution that can clearly identify who is in attendance at your meeting, getting an accurate tabulation for your virtual meeting can be a challenge. Not to mention, manually answering questions about who is present, how unit-weight factors for votes should be allocated, or determining whether an attendee has already submitted a proxy vote is a challenging task and simply can not be answered by standalone meeting software like Zoom. That’s why Property Managers and board members should always utilize a dynamic virtual meeting platform that can automatically track the registration and appropriately rename virtual attendees, answer voter eligibility questions, and overall streamline the attendance process. Using a platform with a capable feature set will significantly reduce the risk of inaccurate attendance tabulations and duplicate entries and actively stop and prevent fraudulent behaviour that can jeopardize the integrity of their meeting and results.

Collecting Accurate Voting Results is Essential

Ensuring the accuracy of voting results is crucial to the condo insider success of your AGM. Without a dynamic voting platform that can accommodate your community’s unique voting requirements, Property Managers and board members will manually need to account for factors unique to Alberta Condomunium’s and HOAs, like determining the appropriate weight of votes based on the unit factor of each unit and find answers to important questions, like; Who has submitted a proxy ballot prior to the meeting? Is this owner eligible to vote on this matter? And other various questions to ensure the accuracy of results.

Correctly answering these questions is imperative to the accuracy of voting results. And without having attendees cast their ballots through a voting platform that can answer these questions automatically, finding the answers and having clear, audible recording in case results are contested becomes a daunting, time-consuming task that is prone to errors. That is why using secure electronic voting that can accommodate your unique voting requirements and generate auditable reports on voting tallies is imperative when holding a virtual AGM.

Technical Difficulties Need to be Resolved Quickly

During this time of remote work and virtual gatherings, technical difficulties are something a vast majority of us have struggled with from time to time. And while frustrating when they arise, failing to resolve these issues quickly can be catastrophic to the efficiency and overall success of your virtual AGM.

The last thing anyone wants is unresolved or persistent technical issues throughout their communities AGM. These issues can negatively impact the experience for attendees and prevent activities such as conducting an election from being executed. That is why Property Managers and board members should always opt to use reliable platforms and ensure they have the necessary personnel and resources readily available to solve any technical issues quickly if they arise.

All to say, while many of us are eager to return to in-person gatherings, virtual meetings have proven benefits for Condominiums and HOAs of all sizes and triumph when compared to in-person meetings.

And while it’s important to remember that virtual meetings have their own unique set of challenges that must be considered, with the right solutions and proper planning, holding a virtual AGM should be a breeze.

By: Mark DiPinto, GetQuorum


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