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Using Prizes in Your Game Show

We've always been of two minds whether or not to use prizes for a game show.

To Use Prizes: On one hand, most trainers we speak to like to give their attendees something for playing the game. There are several benefits to giving out prizes for your game show:

  • Prizes contribute to the game show atmosphere.
  • Prizes increase competition, and motivate trainees to win.
  • Prizes can be compatible with your content.
  • It's nice to walk away with something after a training session--even if it's something small.

Not to Use Prizes: On the other hand, we don't always give away prizes in our game shows. If we do give away prizes, we keep them very small in value. This is because:

  • We often want a more collaborative, less competitive experience. (Valuable prizes can create more competition than you desire.)
  • Big prizes can increase scrutiny of the answers, game, and even the trainer/host.
  • Prizes can eclipse the purpose of the game show and/or the content you're teaching if they're too large.
  • Prizes are NOT typically necessary to motivate trainees to participate fully in a game show.

Prize Ideas: Trivial prizes are perfectly okay in the context of a game show. We like to keep prizes fairly inexpensive. Examples of prizes you can use are:

  • Play money that cumulates throughout the game show or throughout multiple game show sessions.
  • Company branded merchandise (like pens, t-shirts, leftover trade-show swag, magnets, stickers, can coolers, etc.).
  • Silly dollar-store toys (like rubber balls, pens, play-doh, etc.).
  • Candy - Our favorite: Smarties for winning team, Dum-Dums for runner ups.

  • Books that support your content.
  • Certificates of achievement or faux diplomas.
  • Work incentives (like an extra lunch break, or getting to leave an hour early that day).
  • Food/beverage gift certificates.
  • Hotel Amenity kits: Good news: They'll be waiting in your rooms!


Prize Tip: Give everyone a prize--particularly if some trainees didn't have the opportunity to participate in the game show (even if these are smaller or "token" prizes). This way everyone can walk away with something.

Remember: Never let the prizes eclipse the game show. If things are getting too competitive try your next game without prizes, remind trainees that the real prize is learning the content at hand, or bring down the value of your prizes.

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