Pub quizzes or quiz nights are often a fun way to bring way to bring a larger group of people together. However, if done wrong, they can spell disaster. Here are my tips for writing and running a quiz night.
- Think about venue: Before you even get to the quiz, think about the venue, are you hiring out a community or is your house large enough to host? Your choice of venue will determine the number of people you can potentially invite as well as costs for things such as food and drink- if you’re hiring an external venue, you might be able to snag a private bar or at least a buffet while if you’re hosting at your home, you will either need to budget for refreshments or implement a bring and share policy. The venue can also determine the atmosphere- are you going for something a little more verbose and public or quiet and intimate? Take all of these factors into consideration when thinking about venues.
- Think about tone: What sort of event are you going for? Do you want to instil a real sense of competition or this is a group of mates looking to cheat and yell abuse at one another in an affectionate manner? This will help determine how difficult you make the quiz when you come to write it and what sort of prizes (if any) you offer to the victors. A more serious tone will dictate prizes and better quality ones at that while a jokier, laidback quiz could see you offer small, cheaper prizes or some sort of alcoholic leverage, such as you buying the winners a round. The best way to figure out the right tone is to think about whose coming- don’t write aMastermind-esque level of questions if you’re putting this on for your university friends.
- Tailor your quiz to your audience: Once you get round to writing your quiz, make sure to keep it interesting. If you go down the classic route of science, history, geography, sport, make it a mix of quiz night staples and maybe something a little more obscure. That said, make sure to tailor your quiz, if you are running a quiz for your particularly nerdy friends, a round on sport may not go down well while if you are dealing with a larger, more mixed group of people, aim to have a broader array of rounds.
- Be sure to read the room: If you also take up the mantle of quizmaster, make sure you are reading the room at all times. One of the worst things you can do is have the crowd turn against you. Here are some behaviours to look out for:
Rowdy, restless: If the crowd appears to be becoming rowdy and restless, consider taking a break at the end of the round. This is most likely due to a little too much quiz all at once and allowing people to cool off may improve people’s mood as the event moves on
Boredom, increased rowdiness: This is a sign that people are getting sick of the quiz. Your best option here to reach the end of the event sooner rather than later. The longer you force people to hang around, the worst it is going to get
Frustration: The quiz may be too difficult or obscure, consider making the next round a little easier.
- Avoid subjectivity: The worst thing you can do is present questions that the participants can argue with you over. If you are including somewhat subjective questions, such as customs and practices in a foreign country during a travel round for example, you can simply turn it into an objective question. Rather than asking: “Should you tip when visiting Japan?” you could ask “According to most travel websites, should you tip when visiting Japan?” that way you have turned an argument about the intricacies of tipping in a foreign country into a simple yes or no answer.
- Maintain control of the event: You will get participants you think it is alright to argue with you throughout the event. However, make sure you always remain in control- if you let one person start to rebel, more people will join them. The best ways to do this are including breaks to let tensions ease, deducting points to show trouble players that you mean business and if needs be, taking them aside during a break and calling them out on what has become disruptive behaviour.