Venues for an AGM (Annual General Meeting)Written by Paul Sep 03 2014
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AGM VenuesFrom the smallest charity to the largest PLC any company or association that deals with the general public is required to have an AGM. For the smaller associations this can be held in an office, house or even a pub, but for larger charities, public bodies and businesses with many shareholders & stakeholders they will need to look at procuring a venue suitable for the occasion. Below we look at some of the considerations to take into account when doing this and then outline some suitable venues for larger AGMs.
Location - One may assume that it's best to host near the company in questions HQ. In reality you'll want to be in a central location convenient for your shareholders and, if invited, the media. For most this would be London given the excellent transport links and high number of investment institutions and media outlets, however Birmingham, Manchester & Cardiff are also good central hubs and will offer better value for money.
Layout - For smaller AGMs a boardroom or u-shape setting is most suitable. For larger function theatre style is best, as people will be unlikely to make extensive notes there's no need for tables as in a cabaret or classroom style layout. If there are to be large numbers attending then it's best to consider tiered seating to ensure everyone has a good view. The board should be seated on the stage and if media are attending then space allocated for them near the front, without blocking the view of others.
AV - For smaller meetings a projector/scree is probably all that's required. With larger AGMs getting the AV right is paramount. Ideally each board member seated at the top table will have a table top mic. In addition there needs to be a lectern and microphone for the speakers, probably with an auto-cue as well with speeches pre-loaded. Roving microphones will be needed for the audience to ask questions. A full stage set is generally used, with multiple projectors and screens for showing presentations.
Food & Drink - This will depend on the length of the meeting, usually they are half day affairs and as such just require some tea/coffee and light refreshments on arrival and the half way through. If the event is going longer you should consider a lunch, for which buffet is best as it’s not too formal and people can nip out if they need to, rather than the full sit down dinner.
Venue type - Probably the hardest element to get right. Go to fancy and risk people think that you’re wasting money and diminishing their dividends/donations. Book somewhere to grim and shareholders could lose faith and view it as a sign of hard times ahead. The venue should represent your company, for instance if you’re a modern, tech based company then a traditional Livery Hall setting may not be the best representation of your brand.
Recommended venues for large AGMs in London
Park Plaza Riverbank - Prestigious venue on the bank of the Thames
20 Bedford Way - Tiered seating for 944, great value venue
The Mermaid - Tiered seating for 600 and in the City
Imperial College London - Tiered seating for 740 in Kensington
Kings Place - Tiered seating for 415 near Regent’s Park
Church House - 664 in theatre style located in the heart of Westminster
Plaisterers' Hall - Prestigious venue for 400 in the middle of the City