GOALS. SET THEM. What are you trying to accomplish? "See if you can win room I in round 3” or "See if you can make Subregionals this season”. Set goals for the program (number of kids involved, etc.)
Learn how the questions are worded and when to buzz in; knowing the answer; adjusting to the competition in the room, etc. Work on it and make players aware of these nuances.
If two teams beat you to the buzzer and the question isn’t finished, wait. If they both get it wrong the question will be read in its entirety and you can use their wrong answers as clues and/or red herrings.
Focus on the key words. Hear enough of the question to guess the rest of it, then answer that question. (ie, “Frida Kahlo painted…” might be enough to deduce that the question is asking about Kahlo’s painting. Therefore, thinking “Self-Portrait with Monkey, The Wounded Deer, symbolism” could be a better train of thought than “communist, Diego Rivera, bus accident”.
Play the math (paper and pencil) questions to your team's hand. 16 seconds is a lot of time if you’re a strong math team. If not, perhaps hold off on the first buzz so you have the first team’s time AND your own 16 seconds to figure out the answer.
Pay attention to the Judge’s or Reader’s tells. Are they hesitating before the “Incorrect?” are they conferring? Those are all signs that the answer is close.
Shotgun! You can give one extra piece of information that is relevant and accurate. Remember that saying a part of the question is not considered extra information.
Stick to last names unless you have to be specific (ie, “President Bush”)— don’t risk handing over a free point to another team because you can’t remember if Earhart’s first name is Emily or Amelia.