The health crisis of 2020, which required social distancing and online meetings, gave companies and associations an opportunity to discover the benefits of digitising their General Meetings.
The evidence is clear - remote or hybrid formats (both on-site and online) offer a wide range of economic and strategic advantages: geographical flexibility, allowing thousands of people to attend from home; easy achievement of quorum; reduced organisational costs; increased vote reliability with the development of Live Vote, and more. So, even with most health restrictions lifted, many organisations are now retaining some aspects of the hybrid model in their business.
Many software and applications now allow all types of meetings to be organised and conducted in just a few clicks: Microsoft Teams has been widely acclaimed by companies for facilitating the digitisation of professional meetings, but can also be used to allow them to hold General Meetings under the same conditions.
In this article, we'll give you the ultimate guide to digitising a General Meeting with Microsoft Teams in just 5 steps.
1. Identify your attendees
General Meetings are an essential part of the year for a company or association. They are the venue for important discussions and decisions that influence the organisation's future.
It is important to be able to identify all the participants present at your digital General Meeting. The webcam is still the most straightforward way to be sure, but Microsoft Teams also gives you the option to set up a “waiting room” system at your meeting, so you can control access to the session. This prevents direct access by anyone who has not received a Teams invitation.
2. Equip yourself with a secure online voting solution
Whether they're held on-site, online, or in a hybrid format, voting is an element in General Meetings that needs to be carefully organised.
With one webcam per participant, you can allow voting by a show of hands. Nevertheless, an online voting module is still the most secure way to ensure the validity of the vote. It can verify the identification of the person voting, and take account of their responses to the resolutions under discussion.
3. Organise your General Meeting and manage discussions
When held remotely, a General Meeting appears more like a "webinar," or online seminar. When you have a large audience, it is important to master the management of the "digital" speaking floor. In this regard, Microsoft Teams offers some interesting features:
Before the meeting, Microsoft allows you to test the audio and image, so you can take time to make the adjustments you need!
The “raise hands” button allows participants to virtually raise their hand to indicate that they wish to speak. This is especially useful in a hybrid meeting, as it ensures that all participants have the opportunity to participate and be heard.
Use the chat function: the chat function on Microsoft Teams allows participants to communicate with each other and with the host in real time, which is useful for interacting with meeting content.
Use the Q&A function to collect responses from participating shareholders.
4. Think hybrid!
Hybrid mode gives participants the choice to attend the General Meeting physically or remotely. One sure consequence of that is an increased participation rate. Hybrid meetings eliminate geographic barriers and time constraints.
From the location of their choice, participants can join the meeting with their computer, tablet or smartphone, and actively participate in discussions as if they were in the same room!
To achieve this, you can set up a conference room for participants wishing to attend the Meeting physically. Using supplementary staging, framing and management services is always a good way to help make your event more professional.
5. The EasyQuorum add-in, a supplement to Teams
EasyQuorum, the leading digitisation solution for General Meetings and Boards, is now available for Teams. The integration of the platform as a Microsoft add-in makes it possible for you to organise your General Meeting with complete peace of mind, thanks to its special features that work as a supplement to Teams:
- Simplified invitation management,
- A Live Vote feature adaptable for use with all kinds of voting (those specific to insurance companies, fractional ownership companies...),
- Advanced proxy voting management,
- For hybrid meetings: badges created specifically for on-site participants.
To find out more about easyQuorum, and its integration into the Microsoft Teams tool, contact one of our experts.