How to Throw an Epic Zoom Trivia Night + Free Downloadable Templates!
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$10,000 dollars is on the line, it’s the last round and you have to answer a “daily double” question. The topic is notable historical dates and you need to identify what happened in December of 1941. Do you know? (Read to the outro for the answer!)
An epic Zoom trivia night is a great way to spice things up with your friends. You’ll have the opportunity to flex your intellectual prowess and share some laughs when your friend misses an easy one.
No trick questions — this guide walks you through how to throw an epic virtual trivia night. Okay, round one, first question. Are you ready to jump in? Answer: Yes, let’s get trivia-ing!
We’ve created these downloadable templates to make your virtual trivia night a success. Click to download:
- Trivia Night Instructions and Editable Questions Sheet
- Trivia-Themed Zoom Background
- Team Answer Sheet
- Virtual Prize
Before the Trivia Night
First, you’ll want to set up video conferencing, which makes a normal trivia night a virtual one. You’ll also want to assemble a guest list, pick a theme and send out invitations. We’ve broken down these steps into easy instructions to follow below.
1. Download Zoom + Pick Your Players
Definitions for 100: This is a camera setting to focus on distant objects and a web application to connect with friends. What is Zoom!
Zoom is a great platform for hosting a virtual game night. With features like screen sharing, recording and the ability to fix your video positioning, it’s the closest thing to being in person. Before you begin planning your trivia night, you’ll want to:
- Decide which Zoom plan best suits your usage. The free plan allows a maximum of 40-minute meetings with more than three people, according to Zoom. If you want to go over that time limit or record the meeting, consider a business or enterprise plan. You can save on the upgrade with these Zoom coupons.
- Install Zoom from the Zoom website. To do this, find which software package matches your computer type and click on the button to download. Voila!
- Enable breakout rooms, which is a free function available to all Zoom accounts. This will help you facilitate the event. To enable breakout rooms, log into your Zoom account and navigate to the settings page on the left-side toolbar. Under the meeting settings tab click on the “In Meeting (Advanced)” option, which will bring you to a choice to enable breakout rooms. Toggle the switch to turn on the feature and click “Allow the host to assign participants to breakout rooms when scheduling.” You can watch a full video on it here.
After you’ve installed Zoom and enabled breakout rooms, it’s time to pick your players. The ideal number of players for a trivia game is eight or nine. Of course, invite as many people as you’d like (or as your Zoom account can accommodate). However, the more people you invite, the more planning prior to and facilitating during the event you’ll need to do.
Now, it’s time to focus on the main event — the trivia.
2. Choose a Theme + Compile/Organize Questions
It’s time to pick a theme and organize the all-important questions, a make-or-break step in the trivia experience. You want to be intentional about picking the questions to ensure your trivia game is full of laughs — and doesn’t feel like a grueling quiz. This means choosing a suitable theme.
To pick a theme, you first need to know your audience. What are some common interests? Do your friends like Star Wars or are they into Harry Potter? If there is a holiday or important date coming up, consider theming it around that.
The most important thing to remember here is to pick a topic everyone has a fair chance with. Don’t accidentally give advantages to players by picking a theme only they know. Here’s a list of some fun themes that might work for you:
- Sports for die-heart athletic fans. Who is Tom Brady playing for in the 2020–21 season? What’s the highest-paid sport? Who has the most Olympic medals? True sports fans will knock these out of the park.
- Movies and television for the theater buffs. Name three films Anne Hathaway appears in. What happened in the second season of Stranger Things? What’s the most popular genre in the United States? The theater crew would get a round of applause for answering these questions.
- Internet memes for the Gen-Z TikTokers. Who is Addison Rae? What is Vine? What type of animal was Harambe? People who know the Internet could answer these questions faster than it takes Charli D’Amelio to get 1M likes on TikTok.
- Popular music for aspiring artists. What was Elvis Presley’s first hit? The classic dance song “Electric Boogie” (aka Electric Slide) was written by which iconic songwriter? Music fans would rock this round.
- True or false to add a twist to the event. True or False: trivia was invented by college students. If you love riddles, make normal trivia trickier by answering true or false questions.
- Books for the literary geeks. John Donne is known as a member of which school of poetry? Mark Twain’s beloved characters Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn reside in which state? Read up before you enter this round!
Feel free to use your imagination when picking a theme. If you’re having trouble coming up with questions, use this trivia generator. You can also use these editable trivia cards to keep track of your questions!
Bear in mind that there is such a thing as too many questions with trivia. Remember you don’t want it to feel like a test. For an hour-long event, 50 questions will do the trick. You don’t want to have more than 10 questions per round.
If you feel like you have too many questions, break them down into categories. For example, if you’re doing a movie-themed trivia, break down the questions by genre.
3. Send Out a Virtual Invitation
Imagine the look on your friend’s face when they get an email for trivia night. Finally, something to do!
Sending out a virtual invitation is easy and can be a great way to build excitement around the event. First, you want to create a Zoom meeting. Log in to your Zoom account, click on “Schedule a Meeting” and fill out the details of the event. You’ll want to make a title, set the time and duration, and also pay attention to the other fields to customize your experience. If you want your friends to be able to join without a password or before the host, make sure to indicate those details when scheduling the meeting.
Once you’ve filled out the details, click “Save” and you’ll be brought to the meeting’s main page. This is where you can find the invitation link and add it to your calendar. Click on the option to add to your Google Calendar and it’ll add the event straight onto your calendar.
Now it’s time to invite your guests. You can’t play trivia all by yourself! Well, maybe you can, but it won’t be any fun.
To add guests and send out the invitation, simply go onto your Google calendar and insert the email addresses of your guests where it says “Add Guests.” Or you can send the Zoom invitation link via email or text.
Try to spice up your invitation so it doesn’t feel like a work meeting. You can send out the invitation via email and, in order to RSVP, guests need to answer a question correctly. Also, give the event title a clever name and use matching Zoom backgrounds. Use this trivia-themed Zoom background.
Here’s a sample email invitation:
On [date] at [time] I’ll be hosting a trivia night and would love for you to participate. Here’s a rundown of the event:
Virtual trivia night, what’s that?
Well, I’m glad you asked! Similar to being in person and playing trivia, we’ll be forming teams, asking questions and scoring the event via Zoom. You can find the link to the event here. You can RSVP by emailing me back with the correct answer to this trivia question: What does RSVP stand for?
Okay, now how do I join?
Instead of simply arriving at a set location, you need to join the Zoom meeting room. Download and install Zoom on your computer before the event. At [event time], click on this link and you’ll be able to join!
How long is the event?
Don’t worry, trivia night won’t keep you up until 3 am. We’ll be playing [insert number of rounds,] which take 15–20 minutes each, and 5-minute breaks in between rounds.
Looking forward to virtually seeing you and let the best brainiac win!
During the Trivia Night
Drumroll, please…trivia night has arrived! But not so fast, smartypants, you have a few more things to do before you the questions get buzzing.
1. Pick a Moderator
First, you need to pick a moderator. A moderator at trivia night plays the role of an emcee at an open mic night. Quick-witted, comedic and easy with the crowd, this person is usually the event organizer. This also works out because they’ll be the only one with permission to create the Zoom breakout rooms.
The moderator is also responsible for reciting rules, breaking the group into teams, asking questions, settling any ties or debates and scoring each round. It’s a tall order, but we’ve laid out detailed instructions below.
2. Break the Group into Teams
You’ll want to divide your group into teams. Luckily, this isn’t middle school kickball. There won’t be team captains nor picking favorites. To do this the organizer of the Zoom event, will click “Breakout Rooms” at the bottom of your Zoom screen. This will automatically sort the group into teams.
Before you start the first round, have these teams go to their breakout rooms to come up with team names. You can then use this information to name each team’s breakout room.
3. Set the Rules
Once you’ve got the breakout rooms named and organized, it’s time to kick off the event by going over the instructions. Here are the rules:
- Introductions. Go around and have everyone introduce themselves. This is a great way to break the ice and get to know your opponents.
- Overview of the rounds. Give a brief overview of the flow of the event. Note how many rounds, the number of questions in each round and how long breaks will be.
- No cheating. You’ll be playing based on the honor system, so reiterate the importance of no cheating. Since everyone is at home, there may be a temptation to use Google to answer the questions. However, in trivia, you only have you, your brain and your team — no outside resources!
- How the questions will be asked. When everyone is logged on, the host will ask the question twice and send it through the question in the Zoom chat. Then, the host will instruct the teams to go to their assigned team breakout rooms to confer with each other and write down their responses. You’ll be answering the questions within your own private breakout rooms that have a preset time limit for each question.
- How to answer. After you’ve discussed the question with your team, write down the answer. You’ll submit your team’s answer sheet at the end of the night for the moderator to score. Use this downloadable answer sheet to keep track of your answers!
- Sending your answer sheet. Players won’t be scored each round. Instead, at the end of the night, take a clear picture of your team’s answer sheet and email it to the moderator. They will then score each team’s answer sheet to see who wins!
- Have fun. It’s time to start playing. Ready, set, TRIVIA!
After the Trivia Night
Trivia has a funny way of making everyone feel like a kid-genius. But the truth of who is a genius and who isn’t gets revealed when it comes to scoring.
1. Tally the Scores
Scoring virtually can be a little tricky. So, let’s simplify it.
First, the host should have an answer key. When making the questions for the trivia night, be sure to write down the correct responses. Keep the key somewhere safe.
Instead of having the teams type out their responses, it’s easier to simply take a picture and send it after the night is over. Make sure the picture is legible so that the host can read all the answers.
Now, all you have to do is grade the answer sheets based on the answer key. For every correct response, the team gets a point — add up all the points at the end to see which team won!
2. Send Out Virtual Prizes
An epic virtual trivia night needs to end with prizes. A great way to get the competitive juices flowing is by promising a mysterious prize to the winning team.
Send these virtual coupons as fun prizes!
Tips for Hosting a Successful Zoom Trivia Night
You’ve pinned down all the planning, but even then things come up that can ruin the success of your event. Last-minute dropouts, glitchy Internet connection and bad questions are all factors that could kill the fun during a trivia night. Here are some tips on hosting a successful virtual trivia night:
- Do a test run. Especially if this is your first time using Zoom or doing breakout rooms with Zoom, have a practice meeting. Send your family or close friends a link and do a mock-trivia night. Try organizing them into breakout rooms and going through the instructions like you would for the real event.
- Make it a regular event. Yes, you can have a one-off trivia night, but it’s more fun to make the event a regular occurrence. Hosting this event once a month is a great way to connect with friends while quarantined. Zoom also allows you to create repeating events. Creating a continuous event also makes it easier when someone drops out last minute as they can always attend the next one!
- Keep a log of the questions. If you’re doing a continuous event, you don’t want to repeat any questions. So, keep track of the questions you’ve asked in a digital folder or a physical one.
Congratulations, you’re officially a trivia geek! Well, we actually have one more question to test you on to see if you’re a true trivia expert. Remember the question in the introduction? Since you’re a trivia pro by now, you should be able to answer it easily. The notable event that occurred in December of 1941 was the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
And that’s the end of the game! Hosting a virtual event with your friends is a guaranteed good time. If you run out of trivia inspiration, check out these Amazon coupons to save on this Ultimate Trivia book with 1,000 questions!
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