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The Buzz Bowl 

Looking for an innovative, fun idea to spruce up your next training or corporate event? The Buzz Bowl is a parody of Jeopardy® with up to 4 teams of up to 6 members each, each with their own electrical buzzer. It's a highly effective training technique that boosts retention, teamwork, and contributes to a positive and fun working environment. I have been doing this for 15 years in settings as diverse as the U.S. Army to corporate America, and it has always been a hit!

What it is:  

  • A parody of Jeopardy® with up to 4 teams of up to 6 members each.

  • Each participant is given a terminal with a button. 

  • To answer a question, they press the button, which activates their team light bulb and buzzer.

How it’s effective:

  • Much of the information that is considered core competencies, or critical to the effective operation of the department or work unit, doesn’t change and can become viewed as mundane by employees. Yet, it is so important, mandatory trainings must be repeated over and over again to certify material was presented.  

  • By making it fun, interesting, engaging and humorous, it’s much more memorable and the material sinks in much deeper.  

  • People think more about a piece of material if you put it in question form and ask them to answer it. Any questions and the accompanying answers that come up during a competition are remembered long after the day (and people are reminded!)  

  • Since the staff is formed into teams based on pre-existing work units, a sense of camaraderie among work units or teams is developed.  

  • People want to appear knowledgeable and competent in front of their peers. Adding in a bit of positive peer pressure once in while doesn’t hurt!  

  • By awarding a moderate prize to the winning team, you tap into people’s competitive nature.

How we coordinate the competition:

  • I moderate the Buzz Bowl game; provide my expertise in running the game; and provide/transport all of the equipment to include buzzers, master game board (wood/plastic or PowerPoint), and time keeping equipment.

  • You decide on the make-up of the teams. I have been involved with many different variations of team make-ups. Interdepartmental (Team A versus Team B); interoffice; (sales/marketing versus support/service); inter-company/inter-region (New York customer service dept. versus Los Angeles customer service dept.)  

  • One fun way for team make up is to have lopsided team sizes. Examples- the 5 new folks just out of training versus the 15 veterans; one individual versus many- CEO or manger versus staff of up to 23; 4 people against each other as individuals; or one on one in front of a large audience!

  • You decide on the make-up of the officials/judges. The judges would consist of the moderator, timekeeper, scorekeeper, and two floor judges.  

  • You decide on and provide the prize to the winning team.  

  • You decide how many questions specific to your organization you want to use, or if you want me to use 100% my ready to-go generic questions. If needed, I can help with the wording and writing of the questions, but you know your company and industry and would have to at least provide some of the information. In any case, I need to see and review the questions before the tournament.

  • The questions I have are the fun element of the game. Examples of categories are "The 1970s," and "Name That Tune."

How to develop questions- things to ask yourself:

  • What are the things that your employees must know? The core competencies?  

  • What are the common errors that you find are continually repeated?  

  • What is the important information that is critical to the functioning of your unit, but it is somewhat dry, and whenever there are trainings on it, you hear audible sighs?

  • Then, place that information into the form of a question. The opposite of jeopardy, form the question in the form of a question, not a statement. Short answer works best, multiple choice questions are less desirable. Place the questions into different categories.

How the game works:

  • Either 26 or 51 Buzz Bowl questions per game; one end of game question where point values are wagered.

  • Can be made into a tournament, with multiple games and teams with sudden death elimination.

  • One category is designated as a fun pressure reliever category as mentioned above.

  • Each competition will begin with a coin toss, with the winning team selecting the first category and point value from the master game board. The moderator will ask the corresponding question as a toss up for both teams. The team that activates the buzzer first shall be recognized by the moderator. The buzzers have a lock out system, preventing other teams from activating the system until allowed by the moderator.

  • If the question is answered incorrectly, the point value will be deducted from that team's score and the moderator will then direct the question to the other teams. If one of the other teams also answers incorrectly, the same point value will be deducted from it's score. However, the other teams may refrain from answering the question without any penalty involved. The competition continues with the team that answered the last correct question selecting the next category and point value.

  • Complete rules upon request.

Would you like a Buzz Bowl Game Show demo video and pricing information? Click here: Service Request


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