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Doing a Free Sample Trivia Night

Doing a Free Sample Trivia Night for Venue, Pub, Bar


Nobody likes to do anything for free.  Face it, your time is money.  However, who doesn’t like to GET something for free?  This is where you turn your time INTO money.

It goes without saying that one of your first tasks as a trivia host when you are launching your business is the need to put together a sample quiz. Pretty much every avenue you approach whether it be a bar, a fund raising event or social occasions will ask for a sample of your work. Foolish is the venue owner who hires without seeing a sample of the work, even if it is only a 5 minute demonstration.  It is therefore needless to say that this sample needs to be perfect, beyond perfect if possible and a clear example of the best of your trivia work. The sample you put together should be the quiz you spend most time writing and thinking about. There are a few vital areas to consider:

Sample trivia

  • Make your free sample game short and sweet….like one bite of cake.  They will only want more!  15 minutes is ideal, 30 minute show maximum.  So, your investment into a life-long customer is very reasonable.  Bring only your game system, a single self powered speaker, wireless mic and you are all set.  This is only a 10 minute setup.  Let’s add this up:  10 minute setup + 15 minute show + 5 minute tear down + 5 minutes in schmoozing the staff and meeting with bar owner.  So, is your time money?  Yes, because that 35 minutes of donated time could be the game changer you have been looking for, especially when you get bookings for weekly shows.
  • The quality of the questions is obviously of huge importance. This again is your first chance to make an impression on a person who is relying on you to bring business into their bar and is going to be paying you to do so. They need to see appealing and interesting Trivia. If it bores them, they will know it will bore their customer and they will simply turn you away. I have my best questions, most interesting questions (not forgetting a nice range of interests and trivia ages covered) in my sample. If I write a fantastic question one week I put it into the sample meaning that the sample is, as it should be, the finest example of my work!
  • Make sure there are no typos, the format is good and the layout makes sense. Nothing screams “amateur” more than misspelled words or incorrect trivia. It is going to be embarrassing for you and result in NO BUYS! Double check, triple check and go over it with a fine tooth comb. I always get my other half to check over them as you know what it is like when you have looked at the same document a few times you miss simple errors.
  • You also need to make sure it is kept up to date. Try not to add questions into your sample that will “date” otherwise you will need to change it time after time. Think of good questions that won’t be unusable this time next year and then it means the time and effort you are putting into the initial batch will last you and you can concentrate on drumming up business.
  • Presentation is next and this is as important as the questions. As I have said countless times on the blog it is vital, utterly vital that you put together an effective trivia range but it is also key how you present it to make a good first impression. I always make sure I have 3-4 sets at hand that are laminated and in full color from a quality printer on good paper. No photocopies (which after 2 copies look drained) and no basic crumpled up pieces of paper. Keep them professional, neat and in the best order possible and you will give of that professional,  business like approach you desire. I actually always make sure as well if I am visiting the place I put them in a briefcase and dress smart…..again, all about first impressions.
  • Make sure the bar owner is present when you are scheduled to do your free sample trivia game.  I have made this mistake.  If the bar owner isn’t present, he won’t see you in action.  If he doesn’t see you in action, then you will not likely get the booking.  If you do your 30 minute sample show and he isn’t there, you will need to do it anyways or your audience will be mad at you, but then you will need to reschedule an additional sample show yet again.


Now here comes an interesting notion. I have said from time to time throughout this blog that you need to ensure that your Trivia suits the audience in the bar, which, you are not going to know when putting a sample together. Therefore rather than just handing a sample over (and you should have followed the above instructions and made it diverse) so should also chat to the host and mention you are going to tailor it to the audience once the Trivia Night becomes regular. Do not let him/her think that you are set in your ways or have a very narrow approach to Trivia. Make sure they are fully aware that you are there to serve them and their customers with the best and most appropriate Trivia possible.

TO THE ‘RESCUE’: Bar and restaurant consultant Jon Taffer works with two Framingham bars, Angry Ham’s Garage and the Chicken Bone, for his show ‘Bar Rescue.’

In essence then the sample trivia you put together is, by far and away, the most important trivia you will write. This is what will draw business, secure trivia bookings at a bar, get owners interested and it is your first impressions. And as I keep drilling into you, first impressions count and you need to make sure you make yours count! Any faults, flaws or gaping errors could be the difference between you landing a job or not so get the sample right and watch the offers roll in!

2 Responses to Doing a Free Sample Trivia Night

  1. […] mentioned in a previous post about doing a sample trivia night, your samples need to be accurate, up to date and well presented. Check back on the aforementioned […]

  2. […] play the sample game.  This is only an option to consider.  Ultimately the best option is doing a sample trivia game with a real audience […]

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