Corporate Trivia Supplier Checklist: 25 Questions to Ask Before Hiring

corporate.trivia.supplier.jpgCorporate trivia supplier

Last month, I published a comprehensive list of 25 questions to ask before booking a corporate entertainment vendor. The intention here was to help you, the planner, ask the right questions when searching for that perfect meeting break, company holiday party entertainer, team building activity, gala dinner, icebreaker or other similar event for the office.

That post was extremely well-received, and as such I thought it would be fun to come up with a follow-up, albeit one which focuses specifically on my area of specialty, which is game show trivia events for corporate groups. Readers of this blog know that I am passionate about what I do, and that I am genuinely committed to delivering the greatest experiences possible for my clients. As the nation’s leading supplier of trivia for corporate events, it is therefore incumbent upon me to set the standard for what both my fellow vendors and I should be striving to achieve when rendering our services.

And so, without further ado, I give you 25 questions to ask before hiring a trivia or game show supplier for corporate entertainment. There may be some overlap with my previous list, but I’ve made sure to extrapolate where necessary for the specific needs & expectations of a quiz game show:

  1. Where do the questions come from? – Will they be taken from a database of some kind? Or will they literally be reading Trivial Pursuit cards (which I’ve seen happen!)
  2. What kind of questions will be asked? – Find out the themes which are typically utilized. Will it be pop culture, general knowledge, movies, TV, celebrity news, etc.? Will there be any multimedia questions such as audio or video? Also, what is the format? Is it free-response, multiple choice, true/false, or perhaps a combination of the three?
  3. Will the questions be customized? – Here’s a biggie: will the questions be tailored for ME? Will somebody be crafting original questions from scratch for my event, or will it just be random material selected based on the expected audience – perhaps even just random questions, period?
  4. How will the questions be customized? So the questions will be tailored – but to what degree, and how? What will the trivia event supplier require from me, and how will I provide it? Will they be providing a simple questionnaire, or conducting a detailed customization call?
  5. Will everybody get to play? Is his an engaging corporate event activity for the entire room, or just for a handful of people who get to be onstage?
  6. Will this be team or 1-on-1 competition? Are contestants playing together in small groups, or will it be a series of individual bouts? How about a combination of the two?
  7. How will my group be broken down? Especially when the audience is large or diverse (or both), just how it is divided up into trivia teams is a big deal. Depending on your specific team building goals and objectives, there are a variety of ways you can go about splitting the room up, as well as when it will be done (ie: before or at the event).
  8. Who will be the host? Ah, another critical component. Will the emcee be someone who’s- well, DONE this before? Will it be a seasoned corporate trivia host and event emcee, with years of experience in front of professional audiences? Or will I be getting a bar trivia host from down the street?
  9. Will there be any time to socialize? Especially if this is a company holiday party or professional networking event, people want a chance to mix and mingle. How much of the allotted time will this professional trivia company require to put on their show, and is there any flexibility for mingling before, during or afterwards?
  10. How much time do I need to devote to planning this? Here’s a critical point. Customizing and getting the details right is great, but you’ve got a job to do besides planning a company trivia party. How much will this vendor demand of you as far as personal investment in time and energy? Will you be working late every night for weeks trying to compile detailed info about your colleagues? Or will it be a turnkey experience?
  11. Will I get to review the questions in advance? If the audience is important and the stakes are high, you will definitely want the option to review and approve the material. Find out if this is an option – even if it means you won’t be able to play along on Game Night.
  12. How much experience do you have doing this? Does your supplier have any experience superficially producing corporate trivia nights? If so, how much – and for what kind of companies/audiences? (side note: just today, I lost a gig because the prospective client decided to instead bring in a bar trivia host from the nearby pub, who was charging them a grand total of…nothing. There’s an old saying that you get what you pay for, and in this case, I suspect they’ll get…well, you can probably figure that out for yourself! Click here to see what they missed out on)
  13. What are your AV needs? How high-maintenance is this vendor is what you’re really asking. Do they need screens, wifi, tablets for everybody, or some proprietary gadget of some kind? Do they need to you rent sound projection equipment like amps and mics, or will they be providing their own?
  14. Will there be a digital component? Are we talking simple pens and paper, or do they have a mobile app they want you to use? Is there a method for engaging the audience in real-time via digital technology? Does social media fit into the equation, like asking a question to the room via Twitter? How long does the event last?
  15. Can this be done during a meal? Maybe you want this done before, during or after you feed your people. Maybe you want it done WHILE you feed your people. How flexible and adaptable is this corporate entertainment vendor? Can they respond to your needs, and fit into the agenda wherever you need them?
  16. Will this be appropriate for my ENTIRE audience? You don’t want anybody feeling disengaged, or that this isn’t appropriate for them. Find out if they questions will be superficially targeting a certain segment of your group – planning team building activities for millennials isn’t the same as group bonding events for senior executives. Trivia has a unique way of bridging that gap, however – does your vendor have a plan for doing that?
  17. How will this mix my group up/foster team building? As mentioned above, how the group is divided up matters. If you truly want to get people out of their silos and talking to folks whom they don’t typically cross paths with, then a quality supplier should have some proven methods for achieving that readily available.
  18. What about prizes? Prizes are probably the least-important part of the event, but they ARE important – it’s a contest, after all! That said, will the vendor be bringing any prizes, or do you have to? If the former, what will they be? If the later, what should I be getting – and how many of them?
  19. How much does all of this cost? You’ll probably know to ask this one on your own, but still, the vendor’s price and how it compares to other trivia companies says a lot about both their level of service, as well as what you can expect to receive for your money. Again, you get what you pay for: a more expensive vendor will likely have more experience, professionalism and better quality offerings than the budget provider.
  20. Where will the emcee be coming from? Does the company you’re considering have locally-based emcee talent, or will it be “imported” from somewhere else? This will factor into the event’s price for one thing, but also raises a practicality issue if you are seeking a specific emcee, such as one of TrivWorks’ “Special Talent” emcees. If you’re in Los Angeles and my specially-trained magician/trivia host is in New York City, it may present a challenge if he’s the guy you want hosting your event.
  21. How many staff members will be coming to produce this event? A properly executed trivia event for a corporate audience is one which is fully staffed, not just by a professional emcee, but by an event producer and possibly a team of graders as well. I’ve been doing this for over ten years, and have produced BIG (300-1,500) person trivia nights more consistently than perhaps anyone else on the planet. If some guy tells you he can do your large-scale event with nothing more than his own two hands and a microphone, he probably also has a bridge to sell you.
  22. Are you insured for this specific activity? This is one of those questions that’s often buried in the weeds by prospective clients such as yourself, yet may crop up when it’s time to sign contracts and cut checks. Somebody from accounting or legal may ask, and the answer had better be “Yes.” The reason? It’s standard industry practice, it’s professional, it’s responsible, and it’s the right thing to do.
  23. How much setup time is required? This again refers to the “high maintenance” factor. Does your corporate game show vendor plan on showing up to your venue with an 18-wheeler filled with props, bells, buzzers and lighting rigs? Or will he/she be arriving with nothing more than a roller suitcase and a smile? Setup time (and to a lesser degree breakdown time) can have a serious impact on the overall event agenda; especially if the schedule is tight, you may be seeking flexibility over flash.
  24. How many of these have you done? This talks to the issue of experience. My father is a doctor, and for the past fifteen years he has specialized in one very specific procedure, to the point where he’s probably done more of them than anyone in the country (or even world). He tells me that many of the patients he sees are actually coming for revisions; that is, they’ve had the procedure done by other docs with far less experience doing it, with an unsatisfactory result. The same goes for corporate trivia: the more the supplier has done, the better they likely are (somebody should tell this to that prospect mentioned above who chose a pub quiz host over me, a guy who’s produced 1,000+ gigs!)
  25. What’s the biggest/smallest event you’ve ever done? Again, what you’re looking for here is experience. Very large events have their own set of rules for ensuring they run smoothly and efficiently; likewise, so do very small events. If you are planning something at either of these two extremes, you’re going to want to go with someone who has deep experience with the unique challenges of scale.

For another useful article on planning and producing trivia nights, visit

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