A Corporate Trivia Event Producer’s Biggest Job: Making It Easy for Everybody

corporate.trivia.parties.jpgCorporate trivia parties

This past week, TrivWorks put on a big trivia party for a corporate group in Manhattan. The client was a MAJOR global philanthropy, and wanted to kick of 2017 on the right foot by throwing a raucous, laugh-filled experience for all 160 of their employees, who work so hard to achieve the organization’s mission. As such, we pulled out all the stops: we had fully-customized questions as always, our top-notch production and grading staff, as well as DJ BayBFace, our trivia DJ, spinning from start to finish. Because the event was so special, we also brought in one of our biggest talents to emcee: NY1 anchor and game show host Pat Kiernan!

The event was a huge hit, and I had a blast putting it all together – in fact, my only regret is that I couldn’t be there myself, as I am currently in our Long Beach, California office (though I did briefly consider making a special cross-country trip, just to be there for this gig – it really seemed like it would be that much fun, and it was!).

After the event, I sent a note to Pat asking him how everything went. He responded with something that made me feel just great: “Thanks for making it easy for everybody.”

As a professional corporate trivia event producer, I really couldn’t have asked for more than that. In fact, I really do view this as my primary job: to make things as easy and smooth as I possibly can. Not just for my clients, whom I strive to provide with outstanding service, responsiveness, and proactive anticipation of their needs, but with everyone whom I work with to make these events successful.

For big-name hosts whom I work with like Pat, making it easy means several things. For one, I have to constantly bear in mind just how many demands celebrities and media personalities have on their time. They are constantly being pulled in different directions by others vying for their attention, and I am but one tiny slice of their otherwise extraordinarily busy lives. I know that there’s only so much time and effort that these folks can realistically devote to any event; whereas this is my full-time job, for them it’s essentially a side gig (to quote another celebrity I have the honor of working with, comedian Christian Finnegan: “I look at TrivWorks as my weird side-project – like Russell Crowe’s band, except not awful.”)

As a producer, it is therefore my responsibility to make these events as simple and turnkey as I possibly can for the celebrities and other professional talent who have entrusted me to produce their events. It begins with communication. I try to keep them informed about every pertinent detail, but I must do so in a way which balances the need to convey key information with the limits on their time. That means extremely concise Emails, and even shorter phone calls – both of which I try to do at an absolute minimum (when I first started working with Pat, he said, “If I don’t respond immediately, don’t take it personally – I get 400 Emails a day”).  

With my other emcees for corporate trivia nights, onsite event producers, graders and other staff, the approach is the same: keep them well-informed in a timely manner, but in a way which respects their time. Having spent years programming events at the 92nd Street Y prior to starting my own business, I have a lot of experience in doing just this, ensuring that lecturers, instructors, tour guides and producers have everything they need to run their events successfully. I apply what I learned at 92Y daily with my own staff, making sure they have what they need, when they need it by.

Another part of “making it easy” is trying to take as much off of everybody else’s plates as I can. With clients, I am constantly seeking ways to make the process as smooth, seamless and effortless as possible; these people have enough going on already with their jobs, so if there’s something which I can be doing to take the burden off of them, I do it. The same goes with my hosts and staff: what can I do to ease the burden on them? I will gladly take the brunt of anything which requires time or effort, gleefully tackle any obstacle or challenge, if it means a smoother ride for the folks I work with. A boss once told me, “my job is to make it easier for you to do your job.” I liked that – and I kept it for when I became a boss.

Feedback is the final step in all of this, as I constantly seek ways to improve what it is I do, and how I can make things even EASIER for everybody. It’s part of the drill at the post-gig TrivWorks staff “hang” (which you can read about here), and it’s a key part of my comprehensive post-event recap with the client. If I’ve done my job right, then the feedback is usually about things which were completely outside of anybody’s control. When there’s something that I could actually have done differently, or could start doing moving forward to make somebody’s life easier, you can rest assured I will do it.

I can imagine some of you might be reading this, and maybe scratching your heads a little bit. Why am I assuming so much of the burden in all of this, particularly with my staff? I’m paying THEM to work, after all – so shouldn’t I just be sitting back and managing? The answer is, TrivWorks is a team effort. This company has grown to the point where I couldn’t possibly do all of it on my own anymore; once I find people I want to work with, and who want to work with me, I become extremely protective of them. I want them to enjoy working with me and deliver fantastic experiences for our clients, and that begins with them knowing that I will ALWAYS have their backs, and will ALWAYS try to make things as easy as possible for them.

And so, that’s why I do what I do. As mentioned in a blog post at the end of 2016 (follow this link to read it), I have re-committed myself to delivering unparalleled excellence in everything I do, to ensure that my company truly does become the vendor of record for trivia entertainment for corporate groups anywhere in the United States. And that begins with a firm promise to my clients, hosts, and other staff alike: that I will continually strive to make every aspect of every event as simple for them as I possibly can.

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