The Buzz Bowl
for an innovative, fun idea to
spruce up your next training or corporate event? The Buzz Bowl is a
Jeopardy® with up to 4 teams of up to 6 members 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
U.S. Army to corporate America, and it has always been a hit!
parody of Jeopardy®
with up to 4 teams of up to 6 members 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.
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
repeated over and over again to certify material was presented.
making it fun, interesting, engaging and humorous, it’s much
more memorable and the material sinks in much deeper.
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!)
the staff is formed into teams based on pre-existing work units, a
sense of camaraderie among work units or teams is developed.
want to appear knowledgeable and competent in front of their peers.
Adding in a bit of positive peer pressure once in while
awarding a moderate prize to the winning team, you tap into
people’s competitive nature.
we coordinate the competition:
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
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.)
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!
decide on the make-up of the officials/judges. The judges would consist
of the moderator, timekeeper, scorekeeper, and two floor judges.
decide on and provide the prize to the winning team.
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.
questions I have are the fun element of the game. Examples of
categories are "The 1970s," and "Name That Tune."
to develop questions- things to ask yourself:
are the things that your employees must know? The core competencies?
are the common errors that you find are continually repeated?
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?
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.
the game works:
26 or 51 Buzz Bowl questions per game; one end of game question where
point values are wagered.
be made into a tournament, with multiple games and teams with sudden
category is designated as a fun pressure reliever category as mentioned
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.
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
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
selecting the next category and point value.
rules upon request.