Many condominium corporations have now had their first virtual meeting and after experiencing the process, are seeing some of the benefits of using technology for conducting owners meetings. We expect to see the continuation of virtual meetings and electronic voting as the “preferred” way to hold owners meetings, even once the pandemic is over.
Of course, getting through the first virtual owners meeting has its challenges for many managers, board members and unit owners, who are used to the traditional in-person meeting. Managers have had to revise notice packages to ensure that owners understand how to vote and attend the meeting. This is the essential first step in preparing for a virtual meeting.
My experience has been, a well drafted notice package and a prepared chairperson, will ensure that your first AGM goes smoothly.
Here are some useful tips:
- Review agenda for the meeting well ahead of the meeting.
- Prepare a presentation or decide whether portions of the notice package, will be shown on the screen.
- Determine what motions you will need based on the agenda.
- If you are working with a service provider, have a practice session right before the meeting to go over what the motions will be and determine how owners will participate. Allowing owner participation only through the “raise hand” function and unmuting owners in the order that they raise their hands, keeps the meeting flowing, allows the minute taker to records the minutes accurately and avoids the chairperson having to multi-task between the hand raising function and the “chat” and “Q & A” function, where owners may write comments and questions. Of course, if you have a service provider who acts as a moderator for the meeting, they will assist the chairperson by providing instructions to the owners at the beginning of the meeting as to how to participate in the meeting.
- Just like an in-person meeting, owners who raise their hand will be able to speak and should state their name and unit number before making their motion or comment. The moderator for the meeting will usually look to see the order of who raised their hand and will unmute the owner as the chairperson directs.
- Determine how quorum will be obtained and who will announce quorum. Advanced voting, proxies, virtual attendance or a combination all may count toward quorum. You should discuss this in your practice session with your service provider.
- You will need to confirm service of the notice of meeting, so check with management prior to the meeting as to who will be providing the “Confirmation of Service” document.
- If you are asking for nominations from the floor, understand what the process will be for voting. Different service providers have different voting platforms and the voting process may differ from one provider to the next. If you have an owner-occupant election and a general election, it is important to know how electronic voting will work so you can assist owners in explaining the process to them during the voting period.
- If you have a nomination from the “virtual” floor, don’t forget that you will have to ask the candidate disclosure questions to the candidate, who will need to be unmuted to respond.
- Candidate speeches are usually timed and you should determine whether you want to display a timer on the screen to ensure that candidates stick to the allotted time.
- Ensure that you have your script drafted for your practice session so you can modify it with information that you may receive during the session. Certain service providers have chairperson’s guides and scripts to assist you with your first virtual meeting. Make sure to ask well ahead of your meeting date for that information.