It’s Annual General Meeting time again — but this year AGMs will be a bit more complicated than usual. Co-operatives First has a lot of great information about how to plan your AGM, how to get people to show up, and why it’s important to attend. However this year, as we all practice safe social distancing, co-ops need to rethink how they conduct their annual meeting. This means online AGMs.

There are great online platforms to help you do this, like Zoom and GoToMeeting. But online there are different rules and etiquette than the in-person meetings we’re used to. Here are 10 quick tips to make sure your online AGM is as painless as possible.

  1. Mute yourself unless you’re speaking – because jackhammer typing while someone is attempting to make a point is a tad rude, Karen.
  2. Be aware your face is what others see when you talk – so probably no need to lean in, people can hear you just fine.
  3. As impressive as your nose hair is, no one really wants a close-up! This goes double for those signing in with a phone.
  4. If your bandwidth is low, switch to audio-only or call in to make sure others can hear you.
  5. Be on time – a habit we recommend taking with you when you return to in-person meetings.
  6. State your name when speaking to the group for the first time (you’re famous, but maybe not that famous).
  7. Sit back from the camera and assume you’re being watched the entire meeting. Nodding off mid-meeting sends the wrong message.
  8. Vote using the chat function – everyone saying stuff at once gets confusing.
  9. Forward a motion and second a motion using gestures, not voices. This helps avoid the always awkward: “You go”, “No, you go” tango.
  10. Make sure to have an agenda and designated chair for the meeting. Zoom is a governance canoe – so it’s wise to know where you’re going and who’s steering.

Stay safe and healthy this AGM season — and if you need any guidance on holding your annual meeting, get in touch with us!