If you have yet to give a facility tour, you might wonder what it entails. If you have given one in the past, you probably didn’t realize how much work you have to dedicate to hosting a successful tour. At least you learned from the experience and can always give an improved presentation the next time.
Keep in mind these characteristics of a great tour guide:
- Offer your visitors a warm greeting when they arrive. Shake their hands, thank them for coming, and help them feel as though they belong. You can also make them feel important by allowing them to state some facts about themselves if the size of group and time permits. If appropriate, even encourage everyone to interact with one another either during break or after the touring session. Your guests will remember their experience with you if you give them a friendly welcome.
- Show generosity to your guests. Offer them some snacks and drinks or even prepare a lunch for them if the tour will take more than an hour or two. You might also want to offer them a small branded gift such as a pen or an item related to the kind your company makes.
- Have confidence in you and your experience. Remember all your years of training that led up to presenting your facility. Any type of motivational speaking, teaching or managing background will make you an excellent tour guide as long as you have confidence. Own your authority in your field, and you will convince people that you do have in-depth industry knowledge.
- Demonstrate pride in your company’s accomplishments. Maybe you have the safest team that also produces merchandise faster than other facilities. Other examples of accomplishments include an increase in sales from the following year. Highlight all the best attributes of your plant and broadcast how exceptionally well you perform at what you do. Even brag about some of your key or long-time employees a little bit.
- Use stories to keep their attention. Funny stories of working together and antidotes of times you rose above challenges you face always provide a sense of culture. They also inspire your audience to believe they can achieve.
- Make your tour fun and engaging. When possible, you can let your guests participate in a fun activity related to your products or services you sell. For instance, you perhaps can hold some kind of contest or have a raffle drawing. You can also speak to them using scenarios they can identify with and personally reach them by showing passion for your company’s mission.
- Incorporate key team leaders as speakers. Depending on the purpose of your tour, inviting team leaders to speak makes for a great experience. Having executives and upper management attend your tours and speak also could make your company feel more like a family than a workplace. Having employees involved in some way also boosts your entire team morale. In addition, it gives your clients and investors a well-rounded perspective of your company and sees that you all work together well.
- Stay compliant and follow all safety protocols. Make sure your machines have all the parts in them they should have instead of applying quick fixes that an inspector would deem unsafe. Pay attention to the cleanliness of your plant, too. Make sure the floor and walls and all your equipment and tools are spotless. Put ladders back to their designated locations and place all trash and recyclables in the dumpster where they belong. Alert all your employees to help you make sure your plant is in tip-top condition before executives, government officials or clients arrive.
- Take questions sometime during tour. Either allow a few questions at a time during the tour without straying from the topics you have in mind, or you can provide time for questions after the touring session. Decide what would work best in your situation. Longer tours could have more than one question period in order to keep the guests engaged. Furthermore, make them feel as though their questions do matter when they do ask them. In addition, encourage the quiet ones to share by asking them questions if you can without putting them on the spot.
- Test all communication devices in advance. Sometimes, the characteristics of a great tour guide versus just an average one is a fine line. One way to set yourself apart from the ones that might appear as if they don’t know what they’re doing is having equipment that works. Test all your microphones, headsets, receivers and transmitters well before the arrival of your guests. Make sure they are fully charged, have no feedback and no humming noises or static. Also, if you are using wireless tour guide equipment, make sure everything is set to the correct frequency. Knowing your equipment works in advance will boost your confidence level when providing your tour guide speeches. It will give you a feeling of readiness.
A Bonus Tip: Follow Up with Your Guests After the Tour
Follow-up is another one of those characteristics of a great tour guide that will make your guests remember you. They will feel appreciated if you send them an email and thank them for coming and find a way to foster those relationships you developed during the plant tour.
Also remember to ask about any concerns your guests have either during the tour or maybe in a survey they can take home. Another option would be to find a way to communicate with them online and ask them to provide feedback via an Internet survey. Finding out their points of view on the tour will also provide you insight on what more you can improve on the next time.