7 Secrets To Successful Multi-Player Group Live Event Trivia Games

On Facebook recently, a friend of mine shared a photo of a conference room that made me cringe. It was a ballroom filled with tan chairs in rows.

I felt sorry for the 600 people who were going to be stuffed into those uncomfortable chairs in rows for hours on end listening to somebody ramble through 130 slides.

Contrast that with a friend of mine who is the VP of Marketing for a Manufacturing company. He is responsible for his annual sales meeting and wanted to pump up the energy in the room. He wanted cheering, excitement, and energy.

My VP friend said, “we are fully aware there are going to be dry presentations. We need to pump up the energy in the room.” He needed something more than loud music during walk-in or walk-out would do.

He needed a game for his live event.

He decided to set up a team trivia game that was driven from the stage by a host. All players answered the same questions. The team whose players answered the most questions correctly won.

The live event trivia game was a smashing success. Attendees had a blast.

How does this work? What are the secrets to creating a successful multi-player group live event game? Is it just the game or is there more to it.  Here are our secrets to creating successful trivia games.

Secret #1: Use Leaderboards

People love to see their name in lights. In a large font. Even more, than seeing their name, they love to see that your name is below theirs.

Many players will define winning as being on the leaderboard, or beating a friend (or rival). When there can be only one winner, players find other ways to define success.

In your group trivia games find a way to put 10 – 20 players names on the leaderboard.

Secret #2: Playing Trivia Shoulder to Shoulder

If you have ever played the Daytona Racing Arcade game, you know that the game is much more fun when you compete head-to-head against other players rather than when you play versus the computer.

Over and over, we have seen when you put players next to each other (in chairs or standing at a trivia bar), the competitive juices will go one level higher.

So, find a way to get people playing shoulder to shoulder. On the trade show floor, it’s easy to set up a trivia bar where people play shoulder to shoulder.  In a conference session, players will be seated, but the excitement will still be there.

Secret #3: Team and Group Trivia Games

Team games have the opportunity to make other players fans of each other. In a general session, players get excited as they correctly answer questions and see their team go up the leaderboard, and the others go down!

The challenge in creating teams is to find logical groups of attendees that can quickly figure out who else is on their side. Is it the people at the table? Is it the people on the left-hand side of the room? Are they all from the south region?

Secret #4: Put the Leaderboard Up During Walk-in or Walk-Out

In our experience, clients that have a packed agenda with no time for a live multi-player game during the general session instead want attendees to play trivia during breaks.

In these situations, we advocate for putting the leaderboard up during walk-out and keeping it up during the break. Our data suggest that attendees will play and play and play. Depending on the question bank, it’s a great way to reinforce learning objectives.

Secret #5: Keep the Goal Within Reach

Most people are goal-oriented. We set goals and deadlines at work. Then we work to achieve them. We have annual objectives and quarterly goals.

When the goal appears within reach, players are more likely to keep at it and persist. If the goal feels distant or unattainable, they may give it one shot then give up.

In your game, choose gameplay options that help players achieve goals. If you have one grand prize, how can you keep things close, so people feel like they have a chance? But you don’t want a bunch of ties either. One strategy is to use a count down timer and have points reduce as the time goes down. This way, you can reduce the chances of tie scores and create diversity on the leaderboard. Players will still feel like they have a chance to win.

On the other hand, how do you make people feel like the goal is attainable at a multi-day conference? A common issue at multi-day conferences is that players stop playing after one day, or don’t even attempt to play because the top players get so far ahead of everyone else.

You may choose to offer intermediate rewards (such as a prize wheel spin) and use a progress bar to keep players focused on achieving that goal. Another option is to use drawings to help people work toward the goal. But do you get one entry into the prize draw? Or, do you get one entry for every 500 points you earn? Players are more likely to stop after they obtain the one drawing entry – unless you can offer them more rewards.

Secret #6: New Trivia Questions

We meet a lot of people that want to create a 5-question trivia game with a leaderboard for a shared space in their event. There are three problems with this concept. (A) everyone will have the same score, and the leaderboard won’t look cool. (B) Players will memorize the answers and tell their friends. (It will happen – especially if the prize is Tom Brady memorabilia in Boston.) (C) There is not an incentive to play again.

At SocialPoint, we solve this problem by encouraging our clients to use a deep trivia question bank with 50-60 questions. Even though attendees will only see a few at a time, if they were to play again, the trivia questions would be new. Or if another player comes up to play – you can’t tell her the pattern (A-B-B-A-C). Each player will have to answer the questions as they come up. Also, this format teaches players new concepts and ideas if they play again.

Secret #7: Break up the Live Event Trivia Game

Tennis, Golf and other games break up the game into sets and rounds. This way, players can make a mistake, regroup, and try again. The same applies to your live multi-player group trivia game.

Break it up into rounds (or trivia questions related to the most recent presentation). This approach allows players to make a mistake, or miss a session and get back into the game.

Then use a leaderboard that summarizes all of the scores together into the same game.

Final Thoughts

As you can tell, there is more than one way to implement a successful multi-player group trivia game in your live event. As long as you keep the following ideas in mind, you will end up like my VP friend. Your event will be full of energy and excitement.

Go out and pump up the energy and excitement!

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.