Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtually every industry has had to make adjustments to adapt to a new and ever-changing world. In-person meetings have become almost impossible, greatly restricting the ability of organizations to conduct business.
Condo corporations are among the affected group. Whether it be AGMs or turnover meetings, there are meetings that simply have to be held. Thankfully, technology makes it possible for these meetings to continue virtually. However, exclusively virtual meetings simply are not preferred by some corporations. There may be gaps in technological abilities of participants, or resistance to digital processes and a desire for in-person interaction. This is where hybrid meetings come in, but are they truly the future of AGMs in the post-pandemic world?
What Are Hybrid Meetings?
Hybrid meetings involve conducting meeting activities both electronically and in-person. While they’re flexible and adapt to each situation, they generally involve two factors. First, participants are given the choice of attending the meeting in-person or virtually and voting either in advance or live during the meeting. Second, the meeting is live-streamed on a secure link for those who wish to participate virtually. Though new, this type of meeting has quickly found large amounts of demand.
Why Choose A Hybrid Meeting?
First, limiting the number of people in a room for meetings is critical to complying with COVID-19 regulations and keeping participants safe. Second, offering a hybrid meeting gives owners the option to decide if they’ll participate in advance, in-person or virtually. Hybrid meetings are also reasonably easy to execute with the right circumstances and are effective when executed and planned correctly.
Hybrid Meeting Best Practices
Select the right partner: Hybrid meetings, while manageable, can easily become complicated. Choosing a service partner that has demonstrated success in this field can be the difference between a successful meeting and a failed one.
Prepare: There can be quite a few moving parts in a hybrid meeting. The more you prepare for them, the more likely your meeting will run smoothly.
Be ready to adapt: With these types of meetings, things can change quickly. Being able to think and react to changes is critical to success, and is an area in which an experienced partner can be extremely valuable.
Things To Be Mindful Of When Considering A Hybrid Meeting
In some respects, hybrid meetings may actually be more complex than an exclusively virtual meeting or an in-person meeting. There are audio and visual considerations, as well as voter eligibility and procedural requirements that must be considered.
For example, how do you balance questions from the virtual and live audiences? How are paper and electronic proxies sorted and tracked? How do you prevent duplicate voting? Who and how is attendance tracked for quorum purposes? How do you integrate hand raises for voting on simple motions? Is your AV setup suitable for a hybrid meeting? How do you integrate live in-person voting with virtual voting?
While hybrid meetings are the obvious option once in-person limits are increased to a reasonable size, they are not as easily executed as fully virtual meetings.
● A virtual meeting and voting vendor provides virtual attendance to the chairperson. Virtual attendance is integrated with in-person attendance on site at the meeting.
● In return, the chairperson will confirm who is eligible to vote virtually (e.g. ensuring that there are owners attending both virtually and in-person).
● All in-person voting should use the same method (e.g.paper or electronic ballots). Do not mix.
● Test and retest your AV setup. Getting a bunch of laptops in the same room may not work, meaning a more sophisticated setup may be required.
● Encourage electronic proxy voting and discourage paper-based submitted proxies.
Despite this, hybrid meetings have proven to be effective for condo corporations both big and small. In a year where change is frequent, they’ve been a constant in helping corporations get the results they need, when they need them.
Ben Zelikovitz is a level 200 CCI Certified Director and co-founder of GetQuorum. He loves quorum, the Toronto Raptors, Maple Leafs, Liverpool FC and Drake. He is also a husband, father, peloton rider and washed-up hockey player.