A few aspects of what it takes to be a good quizmaster have already been touched upon in this blog, but I’m going to focus on whether it is necessary to possess that rare and undefineable quality of charisma.
Having run 100s of quizzes myself, I can at least say that my own complete lack of said undefineable quality has not been an insurmountable hindrance to running reasonably enjoyable events, but am I kidding myself? Is charisma, star power, real personality a key ingredient in the quality quizmaster’s armoury?
Not necessarily. Anyone going into running quizzes thinking they can get by on personality alone may well be in for a fall. Far more important are the basic and unglamorous components of a good, clear voice, a good general knowledge and a bit of patience. Arguably, charisma, if misapplied, can be less blessing than curse. Most quiz participants are there for the questions, for the competition. If they want to see a comedian, they’ll go and see a comedian.
Having said that, I’ve seen several circumstances where a bit of genuine personality is a vital ingredient, not least when there is a poor or indeed no soundsystem. A powerful and rich set of lungs can save a quiz set for disaster. Likewise, if you have a thoroughly disinterested audience, the ability to engage, to get them on your side, is a real gift.
But, in truth, for quizzes, those situations are fairly rare. Whether it is a pub quiz, where most people will have gone along because they like quizzes, so are already “on side”, or a corporate team-building event, where people are generally likely to behave themselves and engage, you usually have enough of people’s attention not to have to exude sheer charisma.
For my own part, I tend to be quite reactive. I try to make sure I get the basics right, have good sound, speak clearly etc (of course, the main thing is to have a good and entertaining set of questions, but that’s for another blog) and then if the crowd is receptive, one can relax and have a bit of banter. There’s no need to force it, to have a set of bad jokes stored up, the quiz can still be successful without any great humour, and indeed better to play it safe than to alienate the audience.
Still, that’s just me. I make do with what I’ve got. Rest assured, there are plenty of other QuizQuizQuiz Quizmasters who are simply oozing raw star power, and they may have a very different take on it.
What do you think? Do you prefer a QM with a bit of something about them? Have you ever seen a good quizmaster save a bad quiz? Or a try-hard quizmaster ruin a good quiz?