Being a quizmaster can look easy. But it aint’ necessarily so!
If you’ve been roped into preparing and/or hosting a quiz-night with no previous experience, it might be a harder job than they’d guessed.
So to help novice quizmasters, I put this article together by asking my Quizmasters Group on Facebook the question: “What are the top mistakes made by amateur quizmasters?”
Here are the top thirteen errors made by novice quizmasters
Remarks in quotes come from real quizmasters, many of whom do it for a living.
1. Setting questions that are too hard… or too easy.
“To overestimate or underestimate the players. Nothing is more disastrous than to have teams scoring ZERO, you don’t enjoy it and they don’t. Getting the mix right so that most can go home saying I knew that one! is what it’s about. The best teams will win, the art is getting them to doubt and argue about answers. ”
2. Setting questions that are too dull.
“Asking questions about wedding anniversaries or birthstones.”
“Making the questions too local.”
“Setting on pet subjects”
“Erring on the side of hard-and-unenjoyable rather than fun-and-challenging”
3. Careless Wording
“Asking Questions beginning ‘when’ and ‘where’? Are you looking for day/month/year or city/county/country/continent?”
“Setting questions with colours as answers. Is greeny/blue the same as aquamarine?”
4. Getting It Wrong
“Downloading quizzes off the internet – and not checking sources.”
“Facts do go out of date and others are not correct in the first place. Check your questions”
5. Making It Slow, Long & Heavy
“12 rounds of 20 questions each.”
” Not keeping it light.”
“Making it a chore for the players, instead of a fun experience.”
“Going too slow.”
“Taking too long to mark the answers.”
6. Being Too Showbiz
“You’re a quiz host not a Saturday night TV show personality. It’s about the teams participating, not your own ego.”
“Like a referee at a football match, we should be invisible.”
7. Being Not Showbiz Enough
“Not being a fun, personable host. Engage the crowd, crack jokes and keep it light.”
8. Not knowing your stuff
9. Only Accepting The Answer On The Sheet
“Not having the balls to correct your own mistakes”
“Saying ‘That’s what’s written on the sheet’ or ‘The Quizmaster is always right'”
“You’ve got the internet! Use it. Mistakes happen but ‘computer says no’ attitude is annoying.”
10. Tech-Prep Failure
“Panicking about the sound system not working. *flicks a switch*. It’s now working.”
“Not bringing spare equipment in case of failure – eg mikes, leads etc”
11. Mic-Technique Failure
“Too much bass on the microphone. Absolutely endemic.”
“Not knowing how to use a microphone properly. Either too close to the mouth or too far away or varying between the two.”
12. Letting Cheat Get Away With It
“Not clamping down on Googlers”
13. Being A Phone Nazi
“Getting too arsey with people on phones.”
So there you go, all the tips! One or two of these may seem contradictory, but it’s all about balance. Not too showbiz, not too dull. Not too military discipline, not too much laissez-faire. Not too easy, not too hard. Just get it right!
Thanks to all the quizmasters on the quizmasters group. Too many to name individually and I’m bound to miss someone out, so thanks to all! Meet them all at the Facebook Quizmasters Group
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