How to deal with customers who challenge your quiz answers?
There is always one know-it-all at every pub quiz.
He knows everything and in his latest challenge he claims he was there when it happened or at least his nearest relative was. He studied it at university, it's his specialty topic and he knows for sure your answer is wrong.
Before handling this type of patron its worth considering what makes them tick. If you understand why they get so upset then it is easier to handle them.
A patron will challenge an answer for one of two reasons. Firstly they may just want to win and they'll try it on if they think for a minute they can gain an advantage. These patrons look at the challenge in a more light hearted way. Even if they genuinely feel that their answer is correct, once they know you won't change your mind they'll quickly just let it go.
The second type of person is the more difficult to deal with. These patrons have a need to get the answer correct for self validation. When this type of person gets the answer correct they get an endorphin release from the brain. Everybody gets this shot to some extent and in most people there isn't a great difference between getting the answer right or wrong. (Incidentally this endorphin release is one of the reasons trivia nights are addictive.) However with this second type of patron the difference between the release or not is noticeable. When these patrons submit an answer that they are sure is right they expect the endorphin release, albeit at a subconscious level. However when they are told the answer is wrong they react to remedy the situation. It's not just about winning; it's a chemical reaction. It's worth noting that these patrons genuinely believe they are right. They don't set out at the start of the night thinking "I'm going to be a real pain tonight" they just get caught up in the moment.
So how do you handle these awkward moments?
The first thing is to make sure your Q&As are correct. If you use our Q&As, as most of the members on this site do, then become comfortable with the answers. Read through the questions and answers. If you feel there maybe a conflict with your audience, change the question out or do a check so that you are confident with the package you will present. Also practice using any difficult to pronounce words. The more confident you sound the less likely you are to be challenged.
The second thing is to set the right tone at the start of the night. It is important to layout the rules for how challenges to answers will be dealt with so there are no surprises. And to set the tone as a fun night not a life or death struggle for first place.
There are lots of ways of describing the rules. Whatever you use, it should be simple and light-hearted and encapsulate how you will deal with challenges.
Here is an example.
"For tonight the quiz master is always right and all the answers are correct, tomorrow you maybe correct but tonight I am always right. If you feel strongly that you have a correct answer, write it down on a piece of paper with an exact explanation; bring it up here where I'll promptly throw it in the bin."
This is one way of setting the rules on challenges to your answers. We are collecting a list that we will publish for members in the future. If you would like to add your take to the list just fill in the form below.
Now you have set the rules when you do get a challenge it is easier to deal with it.
Rather than argue with a patron the best way is to agree but change the answer.
"You may well be right but I don't know, so I'm going to stick with what I've got written here. If you are right then you have the moral victory that you're smarter than everybody else."
Even if you know that they are wrong you don't want to get in a head to head fight about the question with them. If you use the tone above you're not telling them they are wrong. You are giving them a way out. Also you are not giving in and rewarding their protestations. If you reward them for moaning and causing a disruption then they are more likely to try again in the future.
Be confident with your questions and answers.
Set the tone for the night.
Don't get in an argument, don't listen to their argument just firmly and evenly stick with your answers.
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