What happens in New Orleans, stays in New Orleans… unless you come back two weeks later to do it all again! After hosting the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Xcentric 2021 Showcase in New Orleans earlier in October, I found myself back once more to host the 2021 Xylem Reach Conference. This time, I stayed waterside by the Mississippi River—which made a lot of sense if you know Xylem!
Xylem is a leading water technology company actively innovating smart solutions to meet the world’s water, wastewater, and energy needs. So, it goes without saying that just about everything at the 2021 Reach Conference was water-themed, including the accommodations! Aside from the emphasis on H2O, there was something else totally unique about this most recent hybrid event.
Rather than just a live event broadcasted to a virtual audience, the 2021 Xylem Reach Conference had not one, but two events happening at once! There was both a virtual and live component happening simultaneously—talk about a first, right! As a professional emcee, I knew I had to share this awesome water-rich feat with my audience. Let’s dive in (pun intended)!
Background into Xylem and the 2021 Reach Conference
The 2021 Xylem Reach Conference brought together more than 1,200 industry analysts, utility professionals, and consultants from across the globe… literally. In addition to those physically in attendance, tons of members dialed in from the United Kingdom and Germany. Everyone gathered at the conference to share best practices and future vision for water, electric, and gas utilities.
Even more, the conference spurred dozens of interesting conversations surrounding the impact on and opportunities for global utilities influenced by the internet of things (IoT) and smart cities movements. In true corporate social responsibility fashion, the Xylem team also gave back to various entities, including local New Orleans communities.
Highlights of this One-of-a-Kind Hybrid Event Experience
My experience doing virtual events for the past 18 months combined with my experience hosting live events for the past 18 years has put me in an excellent position to excel at being a hybrid host. I have both the experience and the confidence to tackle any type of hybrid stage, including one as unique and enjoyable as the 2021 Xylem Reach. Take a look at the highlights of this special event!
1. Concurring Live and Virtual Event Crossover
Okay, we have to start the highlights of the conference off with the true star of the show: the simultaneous live and virtual event crossover! Most hybrid events livestream a live event with a physical audience to a secondary virtual audience, but not this one. The 2021 Xylem Reach Conference had programming specifically for their live and virtual audiences.
Rather than a speaker coming on to talk to both audiences at once, they would deliver two separate talks to each audience—both of which were available on the conference app. When it came time for the main session, like an address from Xylem leadership or a big keynote speaker, both audiences would tune in for the same content, either in-person or online.
What Xylem did best was work in tons of free time between sessions, so live and virtual attendees could explore the conference app, network, and catch up on content they hadn’t heard. It was awesome to pull back the curtain for the virtual audience so they could see what the in-person crowd was up to and encourage banter between those in the audience and those on virtual chat.
2. Truly Hybrid “Sports and Sustainability” Conversation
Another aspect of the 2021 Xylem Reach Conference that made it truly hybrid was the fascinating conversation between Austin Alexander, VP of Sustainability and Social Impact for Xylem, and Pete Bradshaw, Head of Sustainability for Manchester City Football Club. As the professional emcee for the event, I was able to guide the conversation… even from over the pond!
You see, Pete Zoomed in from the UK—from his study to be exact (can you get more British than that?!)—while Austin and I were in New Orleans. A few years ago, that would have seemed groundbreaking. But with today’s technology, platforms like Zoom opened the opportunity for us to speak with Pete without worrying about how we planned to fly him in from England. How cool!
We spoke about all things water-based sustainability, like how the Football Club waters the pitch (the field here in the U.S.), makes their kits (jerseys here), and transports the teams. Though this was a content-based panel, it was a chance for me to be the emcee who’s entertaining, not an entertainer who also hosts. See me in action as the professional emcee for corporate events below.
3. Dedicated and Effective Event Planners
Last but not certainly not least, a highlight of the 2021 Xylem Reach Conference has to be the incredible planners who brought the event to life! Planning two simultaneous events is a massive undertaking, but the Xylem team executed it with ease. They were able to perfectly navigate time zone differences between their in-person and virtual audiences.
Even more, the event planners were simply great people. My contacts at the event, Kim and Alexa, were downright awesome! They were even kind enough to point out my high energy as professional emcee throughout the conference, which added a bit of liveliness to an event that was heavily focused on educational content centered on the crucial topics of innovation and sustainability.
Are You Ready to Plan a Special Hybrid Event?
Hybrid is here, folks, and it’s not going away any time soon! Both now and in the future, I can foresee hybrid events as the main type of industry conference. If you’re in the works of planning a hybrid event, I want to help you make it truly special. Send me a booking inquiry today to learn how I can elevate your hybrid event as a professional emcee and corporate entertainer.