7 Components of a Successful Corporate Game Show

corporate.game.show.jpgCorporate game show

You’ve decided to provide your colleagues or clients an interactive trivia game show for a corporate event – excellent! The only question now, is: where to begin?

As the founder & CEO of TrivWorks, the industry leader in this highly specialized area, I have produced almost 1,000 of these exact type of events for groups small and large, nationwide. It’s a niche area, no doubt – I think you would be hard-pressed to find anyone out there with as much experience specifically with corporate trivia events as I do. But all of this knowledge doesn’t do you much good if it’s inside my head, so I like to share as much as I can here on my blog!

Here are the essential components of a successful company quiz show:


Right off the bat, the most critical piece is securing a qualified emcee. Everything else follows (and will be addressed below, I assure you), however it is the host that will make or break your event.

What makes an ideal corporate game show host? There are several factors, each of which is vital to guaranteeing a winning gig:

  • Experience – First and foremost, your emcee must have a strong background not only in front of professional audiences, but with corporate game shows specifically. As I said, it’s a highly niche area – not everybody has done it, or does it well. If you’re putting this person in front of a room full of colleagues, clients, executives, shareholders or other important people, you want he or she to have the confidence and expertise to execute a trivia contest flawlessly. The only way to achieve this is to have done it may, many times before.


  • Professionalism – You MUST have somebody whom you can trust in front of the room. At the bare minimum, your emcee must be poised, polished, presentable, and well-practiced in the delicate art of presenting in front of a corporate audience. This person represents the brands of you, your boss, your department and your company.


  • Charisma – One would assume that a professional emcee with years of experience hosting game shows for corporate groups to naturally be charming, witty and engaging. However, this isn’t a given. You don’t want a stick in the mud running your event, boring your audience to tears. Rather, the host must be fun, sharp, and have the ability to totally command the room.


Carefully considering how want this event to be presented is vital. Factors which may impact the event format include audience size, room shape/layout, and any kind of technical or logistical limitations. From a stylistic perspective, you also must determine the type of experience you are seeking for your audience. Do you want a TV-style game show experience, complete with lights, buzzers, podiums and the like? Or are you seeking something more of a “pub quiz” feel, where people play team trivia from their tables?


You can’t have a game show without content! Once again, experience and expertise are the critical factors here. I’ve been writing trivia questions professionally for over ten years, and I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s a lot harder than it looks. Not only must the material be compelling, but it must also be A) relevant to the audience/objectives; B) appropriately challenging; and C) fun. Think I’m kidding? Try closing this window right now, open a blank Microsoft Word document, and fill it with trivia questions for your event. Not so easy, is it?


Where you hold this event is key. Depending on the type of experience you wish to create for your group, there are a bunch of things to think about, each of which can have an important impact. Is there a stage, or room for a stage/riser? How about seating – is it fixed, or variable? Do you want to feed these people? If so, will the venue be able to provide food/beverage, or must you bring in from the outside? Lots of things to consider.


Again, will the venue be providing, or must you bring in outside resources? At the bare minimum, you will need some microphones – one handheld or lavaliere for your emcee, and at least one-two handheld or on stands for onstage contestants. You may also want PowerPoint capability, meaning you will need projectors, screens and/or flatscreens. Also, will you be integrating a mobile app into this event, either your conference app or a separate one for the trivia contest? If so, you will need wifi capability.


Prizes are indeed on the list, however I’m putting this way down towards the bottom. Why, you wonder? Don’t we need to make the prizes as prominent and glittery as possible, in order to generate excitement and enthusiasm surround the event? In my experience, the answer is no. This isn’t a television game show, people aren’t expecting to walk away with huge jackpots. Rather, it’s a live event, presumably with professional colleagues & acquaintances – people don’t want to take home the Big Bucks, so much as they want to WIN. Knowing the exact type of prizes to give away throughout the function – as well as when to give them – is key to maintaining momentum, engagement, and keeping the laughs and positive energy flowing.


At the end of the day, the whole point is to entertain and engage your group. However, having the right crowd with the right mindset can absolutely affect your event, irrespective of how carefully you’ve paid attention to the above steps. While you can’t control everything, there ARE some things you can do to help ensure that they get the most out of the event, and respond to it in as enthusiastic a manner as you hope they will:

  • Make Sure it’s the Right Fit – I’ll again be the first to admit that while generally well-received, team trivia events aren’t for everybody. Is your expected audience outgoing, or introverted? What’s their pop culture knowledge level? Are half of them coming from overseas, with English as a second (or third) language? What’s the context of the event? Is a high-energy trivia contest appropriate? Nobody knows your people as well as you do – even though you (and I) love trivia nights, this may honestly not be the best activity for this group, or for this particular event.


  • Agenda – Where this planned activity falls on the agenda can have a huge impact on how the crowd embraces it. Are they just flying in from around the globe that afternoon? Then maybe it’s best to push the trivia game back until the following night. If you want a looser, more raucous event, then you’ll probably have better luck holding it in the late afternoon or evening, when alcohol can be served. Just a few things to think about.


  • Get Them Excited – You can fire up your crowd by letting them know about the trivia contest in advance, or even just teasing a “surprise fun event.” If you really want to make it special, break them up into teams beforehand so that they can bond, develop some team pride, or even get to know one another via the Know Your Crew app (for more on that, follow this link).

For further reading on best practices producing successful game shows for corporate events and other functions, visit our blog.

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