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How to have an awesome AGM, and a brief lesson in Italian, too!

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Often, in business, we take an opportunity at face value. To really understand the opportunity and what potential it presents, we need to delve deeper and exploit the potential for all its worth.

An Annual General Meeting is the perfect example of that. Having attended many AGMs, whether sitting on the stage, front and centre, or in the audience as a shareholder, my experiences have varied. The most interesting times have been those where the most has come from the opportunity that an AGM represents.

If you haven’t attempted an AGM at your business, you might be missing on the awesome opportunity that an event of this time can yield for your business.

Your time to shine

Every AGM comes with the potential for epic disaster. Sound systems go out, and other technical difficulties can lead to frustration and folly. That being said, the prospect of an AGM should be approached with total enthusiasm, forward thinking and the planning that it deserves.  After all, this is an opportunity to make your brand shine. The AGM, friends, is your moment.

An AGM offers the unique opportunity to connect with the individuals who you work for: your shareholders. It’s the chance to breed excitement and understanding amongst them, as well as get them on board and working with you to take the company to success. This is your chance to have a positive effect on the growth and strategy of the business.

Tap into the potential

Far too often, I have witnessed AGMs take the form of a stock standard results announcement with the board reading out announcements, sharing graphs and moving quickly through uninspiring content.

But an AGM can be so much more. It is a communications platform with the ability to drive a broader business message across multiple mediums. Before you, you have a captive audience ready to hear what their company has done in the past 12 months. Why bore them to pieces with stats, when you can seize the opportunity to get everyone fired up about your business?

What to say

The open forum at an AGM is where you have the opportunity to show the innovation of the company and share your vision for what is next, what the forward plans are, and where the business is apparently headed.

I’ve found using technology to support your vision is the best way to really make the brand and the message have impact. Webcasting is just one avenue I have seen done previously and it’s hard not to applaud its ability to let you communicate with a much wider audience, and position the brand and your message in front of a far-reaching range of stakeholders beyond the room you are standing in.

A brief lesson in Italian: sprezzatura

Sprezzatura: a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it
 

We all know practice makes perfect, so for greater success, heed the lesson and take the time to run through your presentation. This will step up your game to the level of sprezzatura, which is good because a well-executed presentation supports your vision and gives your audience the chance to be enthralled by whatever you are saying. To any Managing Director, having your shareholders invested in your vision for the company is crucial.

The effect an AGM can have on the team is extremely important to recognise. Often we discount the connected world we live in and our employees’ access to news 24/7. This includes news about our companies. Hold an AGM and only announce results, be they positive or negative, and you can be assured your employees will have seen the press about it and will already be talking about it. A successful, innovative AGM representing the brand and delivering a broader message will not only engage your shareholders, but also the team of employees who work to drive your business forward.

Ready to hold your own AGM?

Understanding the true value of a well-executed AGM is to understand an AGM is the perfect platform to communicate, drive the business strategy and garner support for your vision. So step up, don’t be afraid of making your AGM more than just a financial wrap up!

Tony Chamberlain is MD of Staging Connections Pty Ltd, Australia’s largest integrated event services business. As a Managing Director his job is the creation and delivery of the AGM message. Having presented at numerous AGM’s, Tony would be happy to hear your feedback about these thoughts![email protected].

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