For many years, the standard regarding private equity annual meetings has been to conduct in-person gatherings or, at least, hybrid meetings. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused firms to rethink that practice. Now, the industry has shifted to virtual annual meetings and gone through the inevitable trial-and-error phase as organizers determined the best way to conduct these events.
Enough virtual annual meetings (and remote meetings in general) have been held now that best practices have emerged. Four tactics that firms have found to be particularly important are explained below.
Virtual Annual Meetings Best Practices Checklist
- Poll virtual annual meeting attendees on what topics they want to see covered.
We’ve all learned in the last few years that it’s much more difficult to stay engaged and attentive in virtual meetings in general. Consequently, it’s important to focus on what the majority of attendees want and need to know to address any other issues with follow-up conversations.
There are many polling tools you can use to conduct your survey, including SurveyMonkey, Typeform, and Google Forms. Then store your poll results and notes for each respondent in your private equity CRM. Now you have the ability to contact them if you were unable to answer their questions during the meeting and have greater insight into what’s important to them and leverage the information in the future.
- Rethink the duration of virtual annual meetings.
Private equity firms historically held annual meetings as all-day affairs or at least 8-hour events. For virtual annual meetings, the average person won’t be able to sit in front of a computer screen and absorb information for more than 3-4 hours. But you can leverage the results of your attendee survey to help you prioritize session topics to ensure your attendees get the information they need in a single, shortened session or in a few shorter sessions held over a couple of days, as is becoming more common in the industry.
- Establish and share “rules of conduct” for meeting attendees.
While virtual meetings are very common today, not everyone has experienced them. So, it’s a good idea to document rules that can guide behavior and help make virtual annual meetings more productive.
For example, you should request that attendees mute their microphones when not speaking. You should also develop guidelines for when attendees should and should not ask questions, and explain when and where any questions received through a “chat” function will be answered.
- Record your meetings and follow up with attendees.
Live virtual annual meetings tend to be the standard today. Without having to jump on a plane to attend, investors can experience the session in real time. However, it’s still important that you record your virtual annual meetings and make those recordings available to attendees.
Some may have missed important content or will want to watch certain segments again. You can also share the recording with any non-attendees who could benefit from the content. A great way to do that is through a virtual data room and engagement portal like ShareSecure. It’s the ideal tool for providing secure access to your recording since it has enterprise-grade security features.
And, of course, you want to be very familiar with the video conferencing service you choose to use for your virtual annual meetings. This includes knowing how to get prompt technical assistance if needed. For all the progress that’s been made in using video conferencing systems, everything from small glitches to major problems still occurs at times.
The Right Tools for the Job
As noted above, products like a CRM and an LP Portal – are especially valuable at a time when remote work and virtual annual meetings have become the norm. With leading-edge tools like these, getting up and running is easy and the intuitive interface helps users get comfortable and productive quickly. Beyond virtual annual meetings, the Altvia technology suite can help your team navigate deal flow management, investor relations, fundraising, and firm operations more efficiently and effectively. See how private equity firms use Altvia by viewing our clients and case studies.