As a professional emcee, it’s my job to keep an event on time and on task; but as an industry veteran, it’s also my job to make sure attendees have fun along the way. So, while it takes years for an event emcee to successfully balance both a serious tone and a likable personality, I have more than a decade of experience doing just that!
My knack for clear, concise panel moderation and friendly Q&A facilitation found me at the center of the recent ICANN All Hands Meeting at the magnificent Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. Tag along as I served as event emcee for the global ICANN staff, who arrived from Chile, Belgium, Singapore, and more to connect with one another!
If ‘ICANN Together,’ We Can Together
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, better known as ICANN, is an organization responsible for maintaining a stable and secure internet. Formed in 1998 as a nonprofit public benefit corporation with $0 in funding, ICANN has now grown into a global organization with more than 425 employees worldwide!
ICANN helps coordinate and support the unique identifiers — like names or numbers — that we type into our computers and other devices to reach a specific domain on the internet. From email addresses to website addresses, all worldwide Internet users rely on this domain name system to find information, do business, learn, and most importantly, connect. At the heart of this global infrastructure is ICANN, which continuously keeps the system unified.
It wasn’t until January 2023 that all of ICANN’s global offices fully reopened, marking an important moment for staff worldwide. To celebrate the occasion — as well as honor the organization’s 25th anniversary — staff from 35 countries gathered at the Beverly Hilton for the ICANN All Hands Meeting with the theme ICANN TOGETHER.
The purpose of the event was all about togetherness: listening, learning, and connecting together! It was my honor to serve as the event emcee, in which I played an integral role in helping ICANN staff engage with one another and build (or rebuild!) connections. Together, we spent the day recognizing the incredible accomplishments of ICANN during the pandemic, setting expectations and priorities for the year ahead, and inspiring staff to remain full steam ahead.
One World, One Internet… One Emcee!
Every professional emcee should be confident on a microphone and have the ability to engage an audience. So, when you hire me as your event emcee, those qualities are given. However, with me as your event emcee, you also unlock a range of complementary services. On one side, I’m the corporate entertainer who emcees your event, with juggling, balancing, and other gravity-defying stunts that are meant to make the event more fun, lively, and enjoyable.
On the other side, I’m the professional emcee who moderates, facilitates, and even delivers a keynote presentation at your event. Of course, all my services are completely customizable, so I can tailor my tone to fit the mood of your event. In the case of the ICANN All Hands Meeting, which dealt with topics like artificial intelligence, censorship, and security on the internet, it was important to maintain a more serious tone.
Here’s a cool “behind the scenes” pic of me in action 🙂
Pivotal Role of an Effective Event Emcee
To kick off the ICANN All Hands Meeting, I employed a hosting technique called a ‘soft opening.’ Rather than greet attendees from the stage, I walk through the audience with a microphone as people are coming in to dial up the energy in the room. This technique also helps attendees become more familiar with me as their event emcee.
Once attendees are in their seats, I typically introduce the company leader from the audience, so they can take the stage first to officially welcome both attendees and myself to the event. From here, I take the stage, where I like to lean into the event theme. With the theme of ‘ICANN Together,’ I had the perfect idea to warm up the crowd!
To maintain the serious tone of the event and still garner audience participation, one of my first acts as the professional emcee was to ask attendees to change seats. Rather than keep attendees at tables where they knew one another, this activity encouraged them to foster new relationships. It’s like musical chairs, but without the tunes!
After attendees became re-settled in their new seats, I went through the audience with light icebreakers to help create organic opportunities for them to network. I also facilitated a question and answer session to help the global attendees gain a better sense of their peers as well as to keep the event agenda on time and on task.
Importance of an Emcee with Genuine Interest
It’s true that it takes a fair amount of industry experience to seamlessly blend a serious tone with a likable personality. But something equally as important that doesn’t come along with experience is genuine interest in an event theme or topic. On the contrary, that’s something that has to come from the heart… you cannot fake it!
That’s why one of the reasons clients seek me as a professional emcee is that I thoroughly enjoy becoming part of their team for a day. I sincerely love doing the research about a corporation or organization before an event so I can be fully present in their moment! And folks, I was so thrilled to be a part of the ICANN All Hands Meeting.
As an outsider to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, I had no idea of how critical this organization was — I also didn’t know how cool their mission was! I was completely captivated and inspired by the keynote speakers at the event, Leonard Kleinrock and George Dennehy, who were beyond fascinating.
- Professor Leonard Kleinrock developed the mathematical theory of data networks, the foundation of the internet, and directed the transmission of the first-ever message to pass over the internet on October 29, 1969. Talk about a legend!
- George Dennehy is a passionate keynote speaker who was born without arms, so he plays the guitar with his feet. George closed the day with his keynote, and I could not have imagined a more uplifting way to end the All Hands Meeting!
Professor Kleinrock and George are just two examples of why I love being a professional emcee. I have the privilege of meeting insanely smart, talented, and motivational individuals almost daily! This is why I genuinely show up for my clients each and every day — every event is an opportunity to expand my own knowledge and skill set.
Need a Professional Emcee to Facilitate Your Event?
If you need a professional emcee to facilitate your next event, look no further than me, Jeff Civillico! With more than a decade of experience under my belt, I can confidently serve as the reserved event emcee to facilitate and moderate, or the fun event emcee to entertain and excite. Learn more about my services by sending me a booking inquiry!