After running quizzes for 4 years, I have written a quite useful ‘QuizMaster Guide’ to help you run your trivia night the best possible way. The guide has a few observations and suggestions from my experience. My intention is to provide value to anybody who is going to run a Quiz for the first time or wants to become even better.
Firstly I’d like to point out that it is legitimate to say that almost anybody can be a QuizMaster. To read questions and keep track of the answers one doesn’t need to be a genius. However not everyone is going to make a difference or to be the best. It does require high level of confidence in talking in public and from my point of view; one also has to be good at quizzes.
Here’s my list of suggestions that will help you be the best QuizMaster. Of course this list doesn’t cover every single aspect, but I believe is a good starting point.
Know the questions. For me this is the Rule number 1. Even if it hasn’t been you who has created the questions, players should think that has been the case. It is important that you become familiar with the questions you are going to ask in order to read them with fluency and confidence. This will also have an impact on the players’ understanding of the question.
Check your audio. Make sure audio is working properly. Make a test before the game starts. You do not want to have audio problems in the middle of the game and ruin the fun.
Be pleasant. Players might be frustrating and bothersome. Sometimes you would need to tell them what they can and cannot do, but always tell them in a nice way, be respectful and firm at the same time. Keep calm, smile and everything will be easier.
Understand pacing. Give folks plenty of time to answer questions but don’t let them rest on their laurels. Don’t do very long sessions. Usually one hour is enough for a quiz. Maybe add half an hour more if there is a break in between.
Don’t try to be too comical. The questions are the important thing. Being too humorous can be annoying for some players. This doesn’t mean you need to be boring. But just keep it balanced.
Be organized. Keep your table organized and tidy. You don’t want to mess with your questions or putting the wrong mark to the wrong team. Organization matters.
Repetition is key. Get ready to repeat the quiz’s rules a few times during the game. Some players won’t listen to you but still want to have that information. Make sure you have them informed about the rules, scores etc.
Ask for help if necessary. If there are too many teams, get someone to help you with the marks and answering players’ questions.
Think about having some music. There is no need to have ambient music, however it really helps to prevent periods of silence.
Keep your hands off that beer. Don’t have alcohol when running a pub quiz. You can drink water or refreshments. If you make a mistake and have a drink beside you, believe me it will look really bad on you. Nobody will trust a tipsy QuizMaster, you don’t want people to have that image of yourself, even if it was an honest mistake and it had nothing to do with the beer you were drinking.
All right, that’s about it! I hope this tips have been useful for you and you put them into practice on your next pub quiz.
Let me know in the comments what other tips you would give to QuizMasters!