How to transition a breakout session game into a larger general session.
Many clients use game shows in their event workshops; in small-to-medium sized groups in a somewhat-intimate atmosphere. The energy it brings to the smaller group is undeniable; it increases engagement, participation and content retention.
But can the small workshop solution translate into something like, say, a larger general session at an event? Sure a game show is fun in training a small group of sales reps, but what about in a room of 500...1000...1500? Will it even work? How does one even begin transitioning from a breakout session game into a larger general session game?
The answers are: Yes, game shows translate into large general sessions. Yes, they invigorate a large group in the same way they add energy and interaction in a small group. Yes, it has worked time and time again.
And here are a few strategies and considerations for transitioning a smaller game into a game within a larger context:
Team selection: Whereas everyone in a workshop or breakout may get to directly participate on a team, that's not always possible in a larger group. There are three options for team engagement in a big-group game show:
- Use audience-response keypads: If enough are available, giving everyone in the audience an audience response keypad is the most straightforward way of engaging everyone. Audience members can individually play along, but you group individuals on teams--creating a compelling, competitive dynamic. No "stage teams" are needed in this scenario.
- Use a mix of keypads and on-stage players: You may also want to have representative team members playing on stage to "ham it up" or to take the audience response into consideration for their answers.
- Use representative players on stage: Even if you have no keypads, you can engage and entertain everyone by selecting members of the audience to come play on a smaller team onstage. The rest of the audience members are still "part of" the team--they're responsible for cheering the team on and may reap some rewards if their team wins--but they don't have to directly interact with the game on stage.
Simplify the rules: In a workshop you may have a chance to answer clarifying questions about the game rules as you go along. In a larger group this may not be possible, or it may be harder to control chaos from unclear rules as you go along. Make sure your game show rules are simple, clear and that everyone knows them. Playing a sample game question to get audience members familiar with the format, keypads and game logistics is a great idea.
Have the professionals run the game: It's easy to click-through a game show and host at the same time in a breakout session. In a larger event setting, you'll want the A/V crew to control the game. Even if you do have access to the game controls, hosting and running through the game on stage in a large setting takes a lot more energy and focus than you'll want to spend. Get a colleague or technician to supervise the game play with the tech crew if you can.
Format selection: You may want to switch out a traditionally formatted game for alternate game play when bringing it on the big stage. For instance, we often make Tic-Tac-Toe into a Hollywood-Squares-Type game, utilizing different experts and presenters throughout the game.
When in doubt? Call in the experts. We'd be happy to help you transition your breakout game into a larger event general session.