I produced a game show recently for the Meeting Professionals International Tampa Bay Area Chapter. We did it based on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” and the questions were mock meeting planner certification questions. I had three full games ready to launch and thought for sure we would only get through two, and both contestants would make it to the “million dollar” question. We had escalating prizes for three levels per game.
Games one and two were well researched with references, levels and categories. Game three was… less polished (although it had the references). The audience was all equipped with keypads and the rules of the game. “Fastest Finger” wins the right to be our first contestant and it was an intermediate level question so you know it will be answered by someone who “knows their stuff”.
Ahh! A seasoned hotelier wins and is brought to the stage while we recognize our sponsors.
We start game one with novice questions and contestant one answers the first question easily. The second question requires a life-line and the audience poll was wrong! He accepted it as his final answer and the game was over!
No need to panic though, there are two more games. It can be frightening to be in front of over 100 people who all have their eyes on you.
The second contestant gets through the first five questions. Great!!! The audience was keeping up with the game hoping they can collect enough points to qualify as the contestant for game three. We take a couple of “commercial” breaks to see how our Certified Meeting Planners in the audience are enjoying the game and what advice they would like to share with others seeking certification. It brings the tension level down for the contestant on stage.
Back to the game: Question seven requires a lifeline and the Certified Meeting Planner answers correctly, and question eight is the end of game two.
So, 10 of 30 questions were answered for two games! Definitely time to recognize the pending need: Game three is ready to play but I need to think fast because we may need to create a game four ON THE FLY. That is the kind of stress only the meeting planner can know.
Moving into game three as though everything is going as planned, I share plan “B” with the technician. We do a few audience “commercials” as to why certification was important to several key leaders and how has it helped them in their business. Did you know that statistics show that Certified Meeting Professionals earn an average of $12,000 more per year than their uncertified counterparts?
It was interesting to see how involved everyone was in tracking their own success and how excited they were when they got a tough question right. Keeping the audience engaged was a key element in making the meeting last well beyond the moment.
Our game three contestant provided lots of comic relief and really was the kind of game show queen that every producer DREAMS of. She is bright, beautiful and bubbly! She sails through the first 5 questions and we find out how the audience is doing in case we need to go to game four. Another bright, beautiful, bubbly contestant is identified as the lead. As question six requires a lifeline, the lead candidate was selected to help our game three contestant. She was not yet certified but was confident enough to begin the certification process. Of course, they agree on the final answer and contestant three makes it to the second level of prizes. CELEBRATION! Music is playing and Bubbly is dancing in her seat!
Time for a few audience “commercials” and back to the game… everyone is hooked now as the questions continue to get harder… as I look around the room, I can feel the heightened energy. Back to the game… question 11 requires a lifeline… the crowd begins to moan and cheer in an attempt to steer our beloved player. She chooses an answer and the moans grow louder… so she changes her answer and the confusion of cheers and moans are vibrating the room. She selects that as her final answer and the crowd cheers as the correct answer is revealed. Two questions later it is time to use the last lifeline… there are still two more questions to win the big prize but there is too much at stake to sacrifice now… this time we have a 50/50 so two answers are removed… the two that are left are “uplink” or “downlink”.
Half the crowd is cheering for up and half for down.
OK… so we are breaking all the rules but they are so engaged that it really doesn’t matter. She gives the final answer… a hush goes over the crowd… the game is over.
Looking toward my time keeper I see that we are just about out of time… no need to exercise Plan B and the crowd is buzzing. We do a few closing announcements along with our beloved raffle and the meeting adjourns on time.
All the energy put into the creation of the game and the build up through the detail planning stages, working with so many wonderful professionals that support the same goals added to my own educational experience and I encourage each of you to live your passion!