Harish is the co-founder of Choose To Thinq, the parent company of Thinq2Win.
These are actual questions I have been asked when some of my friends hear about Thinq2Win conducting pub quizzes. In my opinion, there are two hidden points in these questions.
For a lot of people, quizzing means some quiz shows they saw on TV or participated in school. The quizzes are exercises in mental regurgitation and are typically meant for the nerds. Quizzes are definitely not meant for enjoying – the Quizmaster and/or the audience is just there to mock at your ignorance. So how can quizzes be fun?
And you are doing these quizzes at pubs – those places where people go to get wasted after a hard day’s work to drown their sorrows?
The second point is easy to address – pubs are social hangout places and people are still in their senses. In fact, they are looking forward to having a good time along with their friends. They ‘get’ this very quickly.
The first point - 'how can anyone be having fun while answering quiz questions' takes some time to be addressed. I try explaining the format of our pub quizzes. But it's like throwing rational arguments like stats while arguing with someone who holds a different opinion. I know I need to make my friends 'feel' that our quizzes are fun. My throwing facts at them will not be enough. But little do they know that I have an ace up my sleeve (let's say I have a Brahmastra that I'm so gleefully waiting to launch on them).
"We design our quizzes to be inclusive, the questions are fun and workoutable, people don’t feel they are under pressure to answer because the host doesn’t make you feel so, in fact, the host tries to coax out the answer from you if your answer is close. We actually tell the host to cover as many tables as possible while giving out prizes. But the participants should feel they have earned the prize and not been ‘only’ lucky. This is also because we respect their intelligence and believe they are capable of earning their prize."
"Wow! This sounds different from what we typically hear from/about media and Bollywood– don’t they say the audience is dumb and they don’t want to use their brains. That’s why we do what we do!"
We are speaking from first-hand experience. We have conducted quizzes for all kinds of audiences (8 to 80 year-olds), at all kinds of venues (pubs to parties to gardens), on all kinds of topics (innerwear to quantum physics to films of Govinda) and can say this with confidence – given the right kind of design (content, format, hosting style), you don’t need to dumb yourself down.
(Friend is thinking - Harish seems to be giving some random gyaan. I can't believe him! Let me challenge him...)
"You keep talking of interesting content. Give me an example!"
(Having faced this question so many times, I have a few go-to questions but I insist on this particular one because it’s workoutable and there’s an Aha! moment at the end of it. More importantly they think we have actually pulled off something of a coup by asking a question like this in a pub)
Ok. If you insist – “Who is Agni’s wife?”
"Ha ha ha. I don’t think you’d dare asking this in a pub."
Oh yes. We have asked it. In fact, the owner of that pub pointed out the beauty of this question.
"Oh ok. Nice." (The smug grin failing to hide that they think the pub owner is as stupid as me to think this is a good question!)
So who is Agni’s wife? (I'm not going to let them get away with this)
"Come on! I don’t know. This is why I hate quizzes."
I’m sure you know it. Why don’t you think a bit more? Where do you come across fire in Hindu functions?
"Are you talking of havans that I see in Hindu weddings and pujas?"
Yes. What word do you hear often during these functions?
"The only thing I remember is some offerings being made and they keep saying Swaha."
Great! You have got the answer!
"What? Wow! I didn’t know that.."
Now you know! (somehow trying to hide my own smug look now, since I knew exactly how this would end)
(Still reeling from wonder and amazement) "Waaow!! This is really cool. I’ll never forget this."
If we were in a pub, I’d have given you a prize for this!
"WOW! When is your next quiz? I will be there."
The actual number of "Wow"s in each conversation has actually been more than what's reported here. In the next installment of this post, we’ll see how I answer the next question in their minds after having a great time at the quiz– this is cool but how do they make money? Is this viable?
Read all that and more in Part 2 here.