DIY.team.building.trivia.game.jpgDIY team building trivia game

A couple of days ago, I had the opportunity to emcee a team building corporate trivia night in Long Beach, California. It’s been a little while since I personally hosted an event – lately I’ve found my days consumed by what I like to call “marketing mode,” “sales mode” or “production mode” (often times, it’s all three), with the actual events being hosted by the amazing other emcees I work with.

So I was actually excited to get away from the office for a bit and back to my roots as a professional corporate game show host, which I’ve been doing for almost ten years now (twelve, if you count my days as a bar trivia quizmaster). I packed my gear bag, threw on my suit, and headed to the event. It was a GREAT one – 150 enthusiastic participants, all gathered for a company team building trivia night which I had the pleasure of leading!

It’s funny, when I haven’t been to an event myself in a while, I sometimes forget how much excitement and energy can be in the room as people let loose and throw themselves fully into the competition. It’s a blast not just for the attendees, but for me as well. Now, I’ve been doing this for a long, long time and know how to get the best response out of virtually any audience – but I also remember back when I was just starting out as a trivia host, and how I could still elicit a raucous, hilarious, fun-filled event, with really no previous experience at all. Just some trivia questions, a microphone, and a set of instructions.

I love my job, and love the experiences which TrivWorks produces. Team trivia truly does work as a competitive group bonding activity, even more so with a professional emcee and highly-customized material. However, both my clients and I understand that the later comes with a price. It takes a lot (and I mean a LOT) of time and effort to tailor an experience for a specific group: a comprehensive customization meeting and recap Email, researching and writing 50-100 trivia questions, review and approval with client (often with revisions, sometimes extensive ones), fact-checking, proofreading, creating customized answer sheets, building a custom PowerPoint deck…like I said, it’s a lot of work. Every job is different, but we’re talking many, many hours.

The emcee is also a critical component. As the industry leader in team trivia for corporate game shows, I make a point to ONLY work with seasoned, professional emcees with tremendous related experience. You will never hire TrivWorks and get an actor off of Craig’s List or a bar trivia host from the pub down the street to lead your event; I will only send a polished & highly trained emcee with tremendous corporate experience, whom you can fully trust to lead a professional event for ANY audience, be they colleagues, clients, executives, interns, brand enthusiasts or other critically important group of stakeholders.

In short, customization and professional emcees are a HUGE part in delivering the  fantastic corporate entertainment event and competitive team building activity experience TrivWorks is known for.

However, they’re also not cheap.

For years – ever since starting this company back in 2009, actually – I’ve fielded calls from people who love what I do, but just don’t have the budget for it. I’m empathetic, since I’ve been on the other side many times in my “previous life” trying to find affordable office party entertainment ideas. Unfortunately, the reality is that as a corporate trivia supplier, I’ve got fixed costs – and they’re high.

My time is valuable, as is that of my emcees, producers, writers and other staff whom I rely on to deliver our events. I find the best people I can to lead our company trivia parties, and pay them on a scale commensurate with their considerable experience and expertise. They’re worth a lot to me, and as such I pay them what they’re worth: a lot.

Being the guy running the whole show, my time is also quite limited, and I need to be wise about how I utilize it. When I’m “on the clock” for a client, either as executive producer overseeing things from afar, or actually emceeing on the ground like I did a few days ago, that’s time I have to commit, where I can’t otherwise be doing other things (see “marketing mode” and “sales mode” above). As with my emcees, I have to be constantly vigilant to the fact that my time, too, is valuable; that my level of skill and expertise doing what I do didn’t happen overnight, but rather through many years of highly specialized experience.

We have paid our dues, and it shows in the quality of our work. As a result, I have to ensure that both my emcees and I are properly compensated, which is reflected in the rates I charge.

So, what can planners who DON’T have the budget for our events do? That’s where the idea of TrivWorks DIY was developed.

I’ve had so many people contact me over the years, saying they love the idea of trivia game show team building and know that their group would love it as well, however they only have a tiny amount which they can spend. They then either book a bar trivia host (who, while FAR cheaper, hasn’t got a clue how to run a corporate team building trivia night), or throw in the towel altogether and do nothing. When their budget is that low, I really haven’t had anything I could offer them which would be feasible for me from a business standpoint.

Well, all that’s changed now.

With the recent launch of TrivWorks DIY, a downloadable, do-it-yourself trivia party for company office entertainment, team building activities or private event entertaining, I now have something which I CAN offer clients who love the idea, but can’t afford the customization and emcees.

The ideas is simple: give people everything they need to run their own, self-hosted trivia party. To be like me when I was first starting out as a bar quiz host: have somebody hand them a stack of questions, answer sheets, a structure/format, and a script to follow. Unlike what I was doing back then, instead of being in a bar with a roomful of strangers, these people would be in a room of colleagues, clients, or private party guests whom they already know, feel comfortable around, and have a report with. There’s no expectation for the emcee to be a superstar, just to be able to follow directions and competently lead an event.

In a word, it’s EASY.

There are a few other elements to the downloadable DIY team building activity we’ve developed here. Have you ever played the original edition of Trivial Pursuit? If so, you’ve no doubt noticed how horribly dated the pop culture questions are (“Which soap opera star won the 1980 Daytime Emmy Best Actress for Guiding Light?”). I’ve HATED this sort of thing ever since I was a kid, and even though I personally don’t have a deep passion for trivia (shocking, I know), I still find it frustrating when the material just isn’t relevant anymore.

Well, we’ve come up with a solution. The content will be not just contemporary, but regularly updated as well.

Harnessing the power of digital technology, it is now incredibly easy for us to continually refresh the content, to make sure that the material is both fun and relevant for the times we live in. When you download our do-it-yourself team building trivia party package, you can do so knowing that the questions won’t be about the latest ABBA album (although they’ve just announced they’re releasing new music for the first time in decades, so maybe that’s not a great example – but you get my point); rather, you will get questions about more recent pop culture, including VERY current events. When’s the last time you played Trivial Pursuit and were asked about something that just happened LAST WEEK?

Another fun element we’ve included here: we show you how to incorporate interstitial entertainment in between trivia rounds. For years, TrivWorks has employed a variety of fun means to keep the crowd engaged during the few minutes needed between rounds to tabulate the score sheets. Through literally hundreds of events, we’ve perfected the formats for integrating head-to-head trivia “bouts,” minute-to-win-it style party games/physical challenges, karaoke, magic and more.

Well, we can teach you how to do all of that (maybe not the magic, that takes a bit more practice…)

The DIY hosting guide includes easy to follow, step-by-step instructions on how to keep the fun flowing during the grading breaks. You can also choose to do nothing in between rounds, if you like; just turn up the music, and let folks socialize. However, these are some proven ways to actively and enjoyably break up the event, based on our years of experience doing this.

Finally, let’s not forget the best part of this new package: it’s CHEAP!

When thinking about how to price this, I actually looked at two different examples which I felt were variations of a similar theme. The first was from watching Jeopardy. Now, I don’t watch Jeopardy anymore (I did when I was a kid, when staying over at my grandparents’ house) – however, I vividly remember seeing the champion of each episode walking away with hundreds or THOUSANDS of dollars, however every contestant also got to take home the Jeopardy home edition.

To this day, I have no idea what the Jeopardy home edition is, or how it’s played. What I DO know is that A) it doesn’t involve a television studio, appearing on TV, having Alex Trebek appear in your home, or thousands of dollars in cash prizes; and B) it’s probably still pretty fun, and really easy to set up. When developing TrivWorks DIY, I had the same thought in mind. Will this be the same experience as one of my full-blown, fully-customized events, led by a professional game show host, corporate emcee or celebrity/special talent emcee?

No.

But will it be fun to play, and easy as pie to download/run? You bet.

The other example I think of is Rao’s. For those who don’t know, Rao’s is a very famous, old-school Italian restaurant in Manhattan. You cannot eat there; doing so requires a reservation, and unless you’re a celebrity, a politician, or otherwise very well connected, you’re basically not getting in.

However, you may have noticed shopping at your local supermarket that Rao’s also sells their famous tomato sauce – it’s right there, next to the Newman’s Own and Ragu. For $4.99, you can have your very own taste of the real thing. Now, is it the same experience as being in the restaurant? Of course not. Can you put a value on how much actually eating there would cost, what with the airfare, taxi, hotel, and the meal itself – assuming you could even get a table? No way. But for that WAY lower price, you can enjoy a piece of that experience.

The same thing goes for TrivWorks DIY. When coming up with a solution that’s deliberately intended to be affordable, wanted to make sure I wasn’t cheapening my brand by basically giving away the store with this. However, when I look at the Rao’s example, I’m reminded that offering a distinctly pared-down product – no emcee, no customization, no nothing, just the trivia questions and format – in no way diminishes the high-end brand I’ve spent almost a decade building. If anything, it enhances it by making it accessible to more audiences, who wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to enjoy ANY kind of TrivWorks experience, but now can.

In closing, I want to say that this project has been a long, long time coming. I first came up with the idea almost a year ago, and have taken a lot of time to carefully think through and put together what I feel is a truly compelling offering for DIY party entertainment, corporate or private. It’s as easy as can be to download, the instructions are clear and concise, the material is relevant, and anyone can do it. The fun is ready to be had, and I am so thrilled to have this exciting new product out there, for you to enjoy it!