As a tour guide, it is your job to provide useful information to those on the tour. This may seem straight forward, but a surprising number of tour guides struggle with this notion. How often have you gone on a tour and, at the end, realized you didn’t actually learn anything? That should never be the case, and when the tour is put on correctly you shouldn’t have any issue staying connected with the information and learning as you go. If you are the one giving the tour though, you will need to focus on a few important points. Below are some points on “how to be a successful tour guide“. These points will help you maximize your tour giving potential with your skills and our tour guide systems and your  and ensure everyone on the tour will walk away with the insights you provide.

How To Be A Successful Tour Guide

What Is The Tour Purpose

Before you start out on the tour you’ll need to determine what the purpose of the tour is. This is basically the thesis of your tour. Naturally, you could walk around and talk about nearly anything, but that’s not the point of the tour. Is the purpose of the tour to sell the building? Maybe it is to show off how something is made? And who is the tour for? If the tour is for investors you’ll want to highlight how their investments are being spent and affecting the ROI. If the tour is for school children you’ll want to focus on what might be of interest to a younger demographic.

Knowing what the purpose of the tour is (and, to a lesser extent, who the tour is four), will help you come up with a script and talking points for the tour.

Preparing For Your Tour

First of all, never just “wing it.” Now, from time to time, there might be the occasional pop-in, where an executive requires you to show them around the facility. In these instances, you’ll need to work a bit more on the fly. However, in most instances you’ll have some prep time. There are a number of ways you can take advantage of this time in order to prepare for the tour.

To begin, let employees know that a tour will be taking place. This will help in a number of ways. First, employees can expect people walking through their workspace. The workers may need to perform some basic maintenance or move some objects out of the way to keep the space clear. It also gives your employees time to clean up certain areas. Think of it like a parent coming over to visit your home. If you don’t expect anyone you might leave a few dishes out in the kitchen and you might have a few odds and ends sitting around in the living room. When they give you the heads up that they’re coming you have time to move these items out of the way. So if you can, give your employees as much of a heads up as possible.

Prepare For Your Guests

People often fidget. They might not know what to do with their hands. They may even want to touch things along the tour route. Ideally they won’t, but sometimes even at the highest-end art galleries there will still be those who want to reach out and touch the works of art. In a plant tour though what they touch can potentially injure them. That is why you’ll need to offer your guests items to keep their hands busy.

How do you do this? You can offer your guests refreshments, such as a few snacks and a bottle of water or soda. This is to give them something to do as they walk. It also keeps their hands occupied. Plus, it helps keep them feel comfortable. It’s sometimes amazing what a little refreshment can do to keeping everyone on track.

Also, make sure you have enough headsets and safety equipment for everyone. If someone doesn’t have a pair of headphones to listen to your tour or a helmet it will affect their perceived notion of the tour. It is always best to over-estimate than to under-estimate.

Test Everything

Before you take everyone on the tour you’ll want to test everything. Make sure the microphone works and make sure the headsets are all receiving the audio signal. Check the batteries as well. You should also walk through the entire tour route with your audio equipment. This way, you’ll know if something offers feedback into the microphone and headsets at a specific time of the tour.

Additionally, you’ll want to work on your script. Now, you shouldn’t write the script down word for word. It’s like practicing a full conversation before it happens. When you do so it comes out forced and doesn’t sound natural. Instead, have specific talking points you want to cover in set orders. This way you can free flow throughout your talking points. Plus, visitors will likely have questions. If you’re on a memorized script and someone asks a question it can completely throw you off. But with talking points it won’t be hard to stop and start with what you want to cover.

You should also keep the list of talking points with you. There’s nothing wrong with having a cheat-sheet of information, stats, and insights you want to pass along during the tour. Over time, as you give more of the tours, you won’t need to rely on this information as much, but in the beginning, have the cheat sheet on hand, just in case you need to pull from it.

Talk Slower

One of the biggest problems people giving tours run into is talking too fast. If you’re nervous giving a tour you’ll talk faster than normal. This makes it difficult for your tour members to hear everything you’re saying. So talk slower and annunciate everything. Plus, do your best to not breathe into the microphone. Your guests don’t want to hear heavy breathing inside their ears. So stay calm, talk slowly, and pretend like you’re just having a regular conversation. Do this and you’ll have no problems with how to be a successful tour guide.

Giving The Best Tours Possible

Beyond all of these points, just remember that practice makes perfect. In many ways, giving a tour is much like giving a performance. Sure, you might nail all your lines and main talking points the first time through, but you might be nervous talking to a group of people, or you might have talked too fast. By learning from the previous tour, and by having someone from within the company listening to the tour (and even going on it), you’ll discover ways to improve the next time around. So by sticking with these different pointers and tips, you will discover how to be a successful tour guide and your guests will take away exactly what you want them to following the completion of the tour.

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