Conference calling has loads of really useful applications in a range of different industries and uses, but one place where it has really come into its own is in companies’ shareholder meetings. In fact, teleconferencing has proven so beneficial when it comes to keeping shareholders in the loop that the number of virtual shareholder meetings has been increasing rapidly – it even has its own acronym: VSM.
Obviously, at Call.Group we’re pleased as punch to be able to help teams of all different make-ups to work as well together as possible; we understand that collaboration is the most powerful asset in any organisation’s toolbelt.
Why are virtual meetings right for shareholders?
So what is it about meeting virtually rather than face to face that is making teleconferencing such a popular way of catching up with shareholders? There are tonnes of different features that make web conferencing a really great way to communicate, and some of these have brilliant applications for explaining a company’s growth and plans to shareholders.
One virtual space for global shareholders
But there are really straightforward, general things to point out, too. At the end of the day, to increase your chances of success you should be aiming to work with the best of the best, and with people who are suited to and interested in your business and the work it does. A lot of the time, that means being willing to cast a pretty wide net, to find the perfect shareholders. In this quickly shrinking world, all of your ideal shareholders probably don’t live on your doorstep. If you have shareholders across countries, even continents, expecting them all to travel to one destination in order to meet is simply not reasonable or realistic. By conducting the meeting online or over the phone, you allow every shareholder to attend the meeting from the comfort of their own office, or even home. Especially thanks to Call.Group’s International Dial-Ins options!
It also means you’re making a much smaller demand on their time (and wallet!). They won’t have to spend what usually amounts to hours commuting, or splash out on a hotel nearby your premises. And if you were going to cover these costs, you’ve just added a load of extra leeway in your budget! Plus, that’s a lot of harmful emissions that haven’t had to be emitted: you’re not just saving money, you’re saving the world.
By making your meetings easily accessible, you’ll probably see attendance increase greatly. This will translate to greater participation, more helpful suggestions, and a bigger emotional, intellectual and financial investment in your company. And all of those can mean a huge boost in success!
Easy and effective communication
The different communication tools that conference call bridges like Call.Group provide make for really slick and helpful dialogue. Planning a virtual meeting makes it really easy to circulate documents ahead of time, and give shareholders the opportunity to submit questions well before the meeting actually takes place. That will give you the opportunity to plan the meeting’s content and structure to make it as beneficial as possible for everybody involved.
The tools themselves are definitely a big force in driving the increase in VSM adoption though, as technology really can make communication more clear and direct. The Q&A feature can cut out a lot of the awkwardness and difficulties of holding actual Q&A sessions in face-to-face meetings. People can’t interrupt one another, there isn’t the uncomfortable moment after you haven’t heard or understood somebody properly, you needn’t pick and choose who speaks when, people can submit follow up questions without stopping further questions being posed, too.
And by integrating things like live video and document presentation, you won’t have to sacrifice any of the visual elements that traditional meetings allow. In fact, presenting your documents on Call.Group can facilitate clearer explanations even than doing so face to face. It means that all your shareholders will literally be on the same page at the same time, and you can talk them through specific diagrams, charts and illustrations pointing out the relevant sections on their screens.
Ready-made take-home materials
Choosing to hold a virtual meeting can save your team a lot of follow-up work and time. It means that all the documents you’ve been presenting and sharing are already easily accessible to attendees as digital copies to peruse later at their own leisure.
What’s more, you’ll also be able to share the audio and/or video recordings of the meetings, so that they can re-live the entire experience! And Call.Group provides transcriptions, so nobody needs to worry about taking detailed meeting minutes, or even notes. That will definitely allow attendees to be more fully engaged during the meeting, and will probably make the usual transcriber very happy. It’s also much more useful than a load of rushed, handwritten scrawls, as it’s fully searchable. That means your shareholders can easily go back and find the exact section they want to look over if they have any follow-up questions or suggestions. You can even search within the recordings!
Advice for acing your virtual shareholder meeting
Of course, there are a few important considerations when you’re planning your virtual meeting, and there have been specific documents published regarding best practice for VSMs. Make sure that you send out detailed information and instructions about accessing the meeting far in advance of the meeting. You might even consider doing a trial-run a week or two before it’s scheduled, to make sure that everybody has access. It’s not fair to exclude any shareholders, or cause them unnecessary inconvenience or stress.
In the same vein, it’s a good idea to have a technical support line open and on-hand for a few hours either side of the meeting, as well as during. That way, if anybody is experiencing any problems, you can make sure they are resolved in real-time so that they don’t miss out on any important information, and you don’t miss out on any brilliant ideas they might have.
It is probably a good idea to circulate a request for feedback in some form after the meeting has taken place, too. After all, arguably the main reason for meeting shareholders in this way is for their convenience, so you want to be sure that they do consider it beneficial. And they might have some great advice for making your next virtual meeting even more helpful for both sides.