I was at an awards event this evening and noted once again the ever present challenge of quieting an audience. There are no bad people here, just passionate and enthusiastic attendees engaged in having fun and enjoying good conversation.
As an Emcee at many events I have found one method for getting the attention of the audience that has NEVER failed.
From the podium say this: "If you can hear the sound of my voice turn to the person next to you and say shhhhh."
If needed say it again. Personally I have never had to say it more than twice. Amazingly, people perform the task and within seconds I've enjoyed a rapt and attentive audience.