For groups using live trivia as a team building activity, probably the most frequently asked question is, “What kind of trivia is used?” A close second, however, is this one: “How many people are on each team?”

While many factors of customizing employee entertainment events depend on the individual preferences of the group, this is one area where there is clearly a right way to approach, and a wrong way. Let’s use a hypothetical example- something nice and broad, which likely bears some resemblance to your situation.

You’re looking to create a trivia event for your 60-person department. The goal is to give them something fun, dynamic and memorable, so we want the event to be as high-energy as we can. So right off the bat, we don’t want two teams of 30 playing against each other; in order to create a competitive environment conducive to fostering teamwork, we will want to have as many teams playing against each other as possible- besides, it isn’t feasible to have 30 people collaborate on each question.

Let’s try making the teams smaller. How about splitting them in half again, so we get 4 teams of 15? While this will help create a festive atmosphere, 15 people per team is still pretty huge, and not everyone will feel they are contributing to the event. Let’s split them up again, and create 8 teams of 7-8 people per team. Ah, now we’re getting somewhere! The competing groups are now small enough where everyone’s voice can be heard, and are also a manageable size for “clustering” around tables, booths or bar areas. What’s more, you can balance each team with a nice diversity of people from different work areas, ages and management levels.

Think 7-8 people per team is still too big? Go right ahead and break them down again, to create 15 teams of 4. This is perfect for getting smaller groups to practice working together, as well as getting to know each other far more intimately than in larger groups. The downside, of course, is that the group as a whole will have fewer opportunities to meet new people- but this isn’t necessarily bad, as there are other chances for people to meet during the socializing section in  between rounds.

You definitely don’t want to go smaller, and create 32 teams of 2; doing so will completely negate the goal of the event, which is to foster group bonding- and you simply can’t do that if everyone’s paired up. Besides, what if the people who are paired already know and like each other- or worse, dislike each other? Let’s just say 3-4 people per team is the absolute smallest you should go.

In the end, the size of the teams will depend on your goal for the event: to integrate a larger group of people who don’t know each other well, or to strengthen existing smaller groups who already work together. So long as the teams aren’t too large or too small, the event should be competitive, vivacious and end with everyone feeling they had fun, contributed, and learned something about their colleagues.

What other factors might come into play when deciding how many people to put on each squad at a trivia team building event?