A company’s Annual Meeting is an incredibly important event. It is the only time during the year that the company gathers together in one room its best clients, prospects, vendors, bankers and family to review the past year and look forward to the next. For some companies, the Annual Meeting is an expensive and stressful exercise. It should also be inspiring and beneficial.
For a complete overview of 12 important steps to take to assure a great Annual Meeting, please click HERE.
My role in an Annual Meeting reduces the stress level for all of the participants. In my article on “The 12 Ways to Create a Successful Annual Meeting” I identify the key steps and hurdles that companies need to consider. A few of those 12 steps are highlighted here:
Work with each presenter individually, not in a group
The one-on-one approach addresses both technique and content issues in a more relaxed and much less inhibited venue.
The content issues require a sophisticated ear
Speakers are encouraged to “front load” their presentation so that the key takeaway that they have developed is the first segment presented. Typically, after such a rehearsal the speaker comes back for a second run-through. This technique allows me to gauge how well those comments dovetail with other speakers and the length of each individual presentation. Shorter is almost always better.
It’s not necessary to rehearse the entire presentation but it is important to get everyone in the same room at the same time at least once. In a group rehearsal it is only necessary for each person to give their opening and handover. The handover is what the speaker says as he/she turns the podium over to the next speaker. Getting everyone together in the same room allows everyone to have a sense of the flow and content of the whole meeting. This eliminates contradictory and/or overlapping statements during the live meeting. It is also important that at this time each speaker run through all of their slides to check for any errors, omissions or other problems. A good rule for this group rehearsal is that it be mandatory that everyone show up and participate.
The actual Annual Meeting
If possible, it is very beneficial to tape each speaker. I always attend the live Annual Meeting. Then, afterwards I use the tape to give further feedback to each speaker.
Document the process
The best time to note what worked well and what didn’t is within a week after the annual meeting. This document becomes the planning strategy for next year’s meeting.
Imagine how pleased you and your management team will be when you put on an annual meeting and every attendee gives you high marks for a job well done.