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5 Ways to Keep Your Entire Audience Engaged in the Game Show

Playing a game show with a full class or a large number of participants can be a challenge. To keep game play running smoothly and chaos to a minimum, only a selection of trainees can actually answer questions at a given time. So what should a trainer do with the rest of the audience? It's true that game shows are entertaining to watch even when one is not directly involved, but how can everyone participate without being on the spot?

Here are some tips to involve EVERYONE in your game show:

1. Divide everyone onto a team. Even if not everyone is going to get to play directly, place all audience members on a team. This can be as simple as dividing the room in half-the left side is on team one, and the right side is on team two. Teammates directly playing the game can "play" for prizes/glory for their team. This way, everyone is part of the game show group and is invested in the outcome of the game. Team members have the responsibility to cheer on their teammates and create support. Then can also, if desired, shout out answers to help designated team members.

2. Rotate active team members. Select different contestants to come up and play the game show in an active role. With a large group, designate 2-3 members per team to act as representatives for their team, but rotate these members frequently so that everyone can have a chance to play. Change representatives after a select number of questions, a round in a multiple-round game show, or for different game shows throughout the session.

3. Use audience-response games. With audience response keypads (either hardware, or the audience members’ own smart phone devices) combined with an AllPlay game, everyone can play along in a game show. The audience is divided into teams, responses are tracked, and every person's answer contributes to their team's total score. If desired, 2-3 representatives can come up to "compete" during the game show to create a competitive game show environment. This is also a great way to track how each member of the audience is responding to a question--and, more importantly, who may need extra assistance in understanding a concept.

4. Ask the audience follow-up questions. After team representatives answer a question, ask 1-2 related follow up questions. Audience members can answer these questions either for bonus points, or simply to elaborate on the content. This helps to involve the audience, but is also useful to reinforce training content. Audience members may also be asked to elaborate on an answer already given. For instance, if a contestant gets the question Name 2 of our 5 new product features the audience can give the remaining 3 product features after the original answer has been scored.

5. Involve the audience when participants answer incorrectly. If contestants are having a difficult time answering a question--throw it out to the audience members. Audience members can answer the question on their own, or consult resource materials at their tables. Audience members can also correct incorrect answers (before revealing the answer in the game show) and hold a constructive, structured debate about why an answer was correct or incorrect.

Bonus Tip: (Literally) throw out a ball/toy to determine who answers a question. In a large, informal game show it doesn't always make sense to have people up front participating as contestants. Divide the audience in half and throw out a koosh ball to determine who is going to answer the next game show question (or better yet, who is going to DECIDE who on their team will answer the next question). Teams taking turns in this manner is slightly less competitive (no one gets the chance to ring in) but all audience members are on their toes and have an opportunity to actively participate. This can also be simulated virtually with a random number generator when playing online.

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