A Sense of Community, Vol II
Why does the traditional pub quiz work so well at creating a sense of community.
And what components should you use and more importantly not use to make sure you get the right results.
If you haven't already read our primer on the subject
A sense of community, Vol I.
take a look to get a feel for what exactly a sense of community is.
There are four major components and many attributes to building a sense of community. Building a sense of community in your venue is 'Money in the Bank'. You are insuring your customer's patronage against the fickleness of fads and fashion. You are building a clientele that won't be lost to money alone. This doesn't mean you don't have to move with the times, on the contrary you have to move with your patron's wishes or else they'll find somewhere else that will. But these changes can be more measured and slower over time. You don't have to rush to keep up with every new trend, but if something comes along and is tested by other venues and works you can implement it once you know it isn't going to move out of fashion.
The beauty of the traditional pub quiz is that it builds a sense of community in a fool proof way without too much effort.
A traditional pub quiz works like this. Teams gather for the night at a set time. They register their interest with the quiz master. The quiz master then reads out questions. He marks and tallies the scores and announces the winner. They get their prizes and come back next week.
Now let's relate the different parts of the quiz to the attributes that build a sense of community.
Many boundaries are set. Where and when will the quiz take place, how many members in a team? Is there a participation fee? No cheating, no cell phones etc. Silence while questions are being read out. Some boundaries maybe set by the patrons. For instance people who shout out answers maybe shunned, abused or expelled from the venue.
The teams form and take a team name, a common symbol. Often the team will use the same name week after week.
There are clear rules so that participants are comfortable within their groups. As the teams become even more comfortable their emotional safety increases and they may engage in friendly banter or lively backchat with the quizmaster or other teams all the while taking care to stay within the boundaries.
Answering questions correctly is rewarding in itself and there are greater rewards for the quiz winner in the form of prizing and more importantly there is kudos and status to be won.
The team members give up time to make sure they can make the quiz every week increasing their personal investment in the quiz. After sometime the individual patrons have a sense of belonging becoming part of the quiz as opposed to just watching the quiz night or just being at the quiz night.
As teams win or lose or do a little better than they have before they increase their emotional connection and gain a common history.
There are lots of opportunities and components of a traditional pub quiz to build a sense of community. This is why once you get a pub quiz up and running it drives itself.
What really sets the traditional pub quiz above other forms of entertainment in fostering this sense of community is the high number of boundaries inherent in the event. Not just the rules set by the venue itself but the rules implied by the event and set by the patrons. By lessening these boundaries, you lower the support for emotional safety and other membership attributes and the effect can be a diluted overall feel for the night.