As U.S.-based companies prepare for the 2011 proxy season, few events raise more questions than the oftentimes-dreaded annual general meeting of shareholders. Will the CEO be peppered with questions about his or her increase in compensation given the company's lackluster financial performance? Will activist groups show up to protest various corporate practices or policies? And will corporate gadflies like Evelyn Y. Davis dominate the microphone with a list of grievances?

Most companies will need to consider where to hold the annual meeting, what type of security will be required, how the CEO should handle potentially tough questions, and whether the media ...