Sunday, February 19, 2012

Advanced Guide Training | Characteristics of a Good Tour Guide

Sent by Raj Tamang, responsible adventures, and one of the trainers

Being a good guide is not rocket science. Using very simple principles and values, internalised deep down, one can slowly develop into a well-respected guide. The list below is by no means complete, but is a guideline for what things to work on.

This has been adapted from Good Guide Guidelines developed for National Parks and Conservation Areas. It applies equally for mountain leaders


1. Speaks Loudly and Clearly
2. Uses Non-Verbal Communication
a) Smiles
b) Makes eye contact  
c) Uses body language

3. Acts Professionally
a) Is punctual
b) Greets tourists
c) Is courteous and attentive
d) Dresses well

4. Prepares in Advance
a) Completes a site inventory b) Researches c) Practices

5. Provides Necessary Information for Tourists a) Informs visitors of the location, time, and length of tour b) Informs visitors what they will need to bring and wear c) Informs visitors of norms, rules and special considerations

6. Is knowledgeable
a) Uses appropriate equipment 
b) Uses guide books 
c) Knows about the area being toured 
d) Takes advantage of teachable moments
e) Knows the difference between different types of tours

7. Knows the Audience 
a) Learns about visitors between stops 
b) Uses visitor and universally relevant information to make examples more personal

8. Helps the Tourists Learn by Themselves (Asks Questions) 
a) Asks questions 
b) Engages tourists in “Guided Discovery” (asks questions and gives hints to help tourists figure things out on their own)

9. Has a “Message” for Every Tour 
a) Simple full-sentence “message” 
b) Message is original

10. Prepares a Structure for Every Tour
a) Uses an introduction, stops, and a conclusion 
b) Writes an outline 
c) Stops exhibit attractive natural resources/appropriate examples of message

11. Has a POW at the Beginning of Every Tour

12. Makes the Tour Dynamic
a) Uses games, activities, or demonstrations
b) Uses sense activities besides vision - sounds, smells, touch
c) Uses natural objects or other props

13. Uses Interesting Language 
a) Uses interesting language 
b) Relays natural history stories appropriate to the message

14. Manages the Group
a) Makes sure everyone can see and hear well
b) Assures visitors safe passage
c) Handles unexpected situations 
d) Chooses comfortable locations for stops

15. Knows First-Aid and Carries Appropriate Equipment
a) Assembles and carries a First-aid kit
b) Attends to the injured
c) Carries appropriate comfort equipment

16. Relays Accurate Information and Handles Difficult Questions 
a) Relays only accurate information 
b) Is honest (“I don’t know”) 
c) Writes down visitor questions and follows up with answers (contact info) 
d) Is able to act as a nature detective, suggesting possible answers

17. Suggests a Relevant Conservation Action
a) Illustrates environmental and conservation problems
b) Suggests an action that tourists can undertake to help protect the area
c) Helps visitors to care for the site during their visit

18. Makes Smooth Transitions Between Stops
a) Asks questions or provides an activity to maintain tourist interest between stops
b) Talks to tourists between stops

19. Evaluates the Tour 
a) Asks questions at the end—conducts a “check for learning” 
b) Does a self-evaluation 
c) Distributes and collects a tourist survey

20. Continues to Learn and Improve the Tour


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