6 Pro Tips To Better Host Your Online Trivia Game

Online Live Trivia games allow you to create shared experiences with remote team members and virtual event attendees. The better you are at hosting, the happier your attendees will be! 

If you want to spice up your organization’s live online trivia game with the energy of a TV game show, you have two choices:

  1. Hire an outside presenter to host your trivia game, at a cost of hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
  2. Be Your Own Quizmaster using a virtual trivia platform like SocialPoint Live Trivia

There’s a very good chance you don’t have the budget to hire an emcee, or even if you do, you’d rather avoid the expense. But what if you’re not sure of how to host a trivia game? Read on, my friend. We’re sharing our best pro tips for hosting either a live, online trivia game or a live, in-person trivia game.

Customers come to us with a wide range of experience with trivia. Some of you are trivia hounds who play twice a week. Others are producers who are experts in live events. While others volunteered (or were “voluntold”) to help host a trivia game and want to do their best as host.

Most of our clients use one of our 40 Ready-To-Play question sets with matching themed graphics. If you want to create your own set of trivia questions, for training or some other purpose, give yourself about 10 hours to write the questions.

Regardless of where you start, all of us could use some advice to help create a wildly successful trivia game.  Here’s some of the best advice that we have learned over the past two years to help you make your game a success. 

Pro Tip #1:  Be – or Find – a High Energy Host

Find a high energy host to pump up the crowd and get people excited about the game.  We aren’t saying that your host needs to be Jimmy Fallon to succeed. Just find the most Jimmy Fallon like person to host the game. That could even be you! If you have more than one choice, go with the person who is most familiar with the theme of your trivia questions.

Pro Tip #2:  Develop a Game Plan for Your 30 Minutes or 1 Hour of Trivia. 

Spend a few minutes developing a game plan for your event. This way, you can make sure that you are on track with your game and respect everyone’s time. 

Here’s a sample game plan that you can adjust and change:

0-5 Minutes: Welcome 

  •   For an online or virtual live trivia game, give people time to login to your Zoom (or any video conference).
  •   For an in-person live trivia game, if the people were already sitting in the seats, you may want to start the game faster, to retain their attention and keep your overall event on schedule. If they were not in their seats already or they need a short break from what occurred just before, tell them the game starts in a few minutes and ask them to get seated.

5-10 Minutes: Get Started

  •   Explain your game and how it will work.
  •   If you are dividing your players into teams, explain how they choose their team names (see point #5 below).
  •   Make sure everyone has the link to your player app and can access the game.

10 – ?? Minutes: Answer Trivia Questions

  •   Run through your questions, answers and leaderboard. If you feel comfortable, ham it up by pushing friendly rivalries among the players or teams.
  •   Plan for 30 seconds to 55 seconds to complete each question (30 seconds for millennials and 55 seconds for boomers).
  •   20 questions are good for a short, 20-minute game, while 40 questions are good for a 1-hour game.

Last 5 – 10 Minutes: Wrap Up

  •   Declare a winner. (Hint: This is the person or team at the top of the leaderboard).
  •   Recognize the winner and the top players in the game, and tell them how they get their prizes, if you are giving any away. If it’s a live, in-person game, you may ask them to come to the front of the room for more cheers and to get their picture taken with their prizes.
  •   Summarize any key points.
  •   Thank everyone for attending. 

Pro Tip #3:  Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse

If you were giving a speech to 200 people, you would probably rehearse. The same goes for your trivia game. We think you should run through the game a few times with 2-3 players to help you work through your plan for the game and get comfortable with holding a microphone in front of an audience (if in-person) or sharing your screen and running your game (if virtual).

To provide inspiration for your host, log onto YouTube and watch some clips of your favorite classic game show hosts, such as Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune, Drew Carey on The Price is Right, and Steve Harvey on Family Feud.

When you are the host at an in-person event (especially a corporate meeting), you may have a tech person sitting at the tech table off to the side who can click on the right buttons at the right time, so you can focus on the crowd. Both you and your tech person should practice that, too.

Customers who rehearse are more likely to have successful games. You’ll also be more comfortable hosting if you’ve already learned the answers to most or all the trivia questions.

Pro Tip #4:  Plan Networking and Sponsorship Breaks

If this is a social trivia night versus a training trivia, be sure to plan breaks for the audience, especially if it’s a one-hour game. Part of the event value is getting to know each other.

Pro Tip #5:  Give Instructions for Selecting Team Names

Will all of your players be free agents (playing on their own) or will they join a team and work together to answer questions?

If players are joining teams and working together, we suggest:

  •   For virtual trivia, push them into breakout rooms with their team members to invent their team’s name (they’ll also network and meet each other, a hidden bonus). Make sure you practice pushing people to breakout rooms so players are not waiting for you to figure out the technology. 
  •   For in-person live trivia, have people separate into teams (much easier if the room is set up with round or crescent tables, harder if in chairs in rows), and then pick their team names.

Pro Tip #6: Integrate the Trivia Game Theme into Your Hosting Performance

If you are hosting the event live in person, your host can take things up a notch. If appropriate, your host can wear an outfit that matches the trivia game theme. For example, wear a green bowler hat and vest for a Saint Patrick’s Day trivia game, or a football jersey for a football trivia game. Go even further by matching your prizes to the trivia game theme.

Be The Trivia Game “Hostess with the Mostest”

By following our pro tips for hosting a live trivia game, you will be more prepared on game day and your group will have even more fun. Let us know if you would like our help in making your live trivia game a success.

Written by

Samuel J. Smith is a thought leader, researcher, speaker and award winning innovator on event technology. In 2011, BizBash Magazine added Sam to its annual innovators list. Since then, Sam has won awards from Exhibitor Magazine, IBTM World, RSVP MN, International Live Events Association and MPI for innovation in event technology.