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Will Shareholder Meetings Ever Be the Same?

Updated: Jun 26


Now that companies around the globe have dived into virtual AGMs and emerged largely successful, many are asking: will this become the new norm? Is the traditional shareholders’ gathering a relic of the past?

What about other investor meetings? The Financial Times recently chronicled IPOs that performed ‘strikingly well’ despite entirely virtual roadshows. Many are now asking whether investor meetings have entered a new stage – stripped of gruelling travel, five-star expenses and sleep deprivation.

Will investors continue to make weighty decisions without genuine eye contact? Have digital encounters reached the point where we can ‘seal the deal’ without the traditional handshake?

Some say yes. Others argue we’ve only accepted these virtual roadshows because we’re in a pandemic.

Whether online becomes the norm, or just part of the norm, one thing is for sure: the option has proven viable, and it is here to stay. Digital interactions will be a part of every IRO’s annual plan.

What does this mean for you, the board director or member of the leadership team? Buckle up for a period of constant change.

It’s a well-known fact in professional motorsports that a Formula One car never races twice. So many improvements are made each round, it’s really a new car for every event. You’ll do best when you prepare for investor encounters in the same way.

You will encounter technology updates every time. Today’s annoying deficiencies will be eliminated, and user-friendliness will improve. As your team – and the world – acquires more expertise, process improvements will be a constant. Soon your team will have second-nature habits for online eye contact, sharing the screen, answering questions, transitioning among speakers and even troubleshooting.

You will upgrade your on-screen communication skills many times over in the coming years. The organisation will strengthen its mastery of virtual shareholder meetings in tandem with investors’ expectations. Ultimately, polished communicators will achieve their goals online just as successfully as they now do on-stage.

Red Shoe coaches boards and management for a successful virtual AGM.  This article is part of a series on executive presence in an eAGM.

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