There are almost 50,000 tour guides employed in the U.S. alone. With so many historical sites and museums scattered across the country, there’s a real demand for good tour guides. If you’ve ever wanted to be one, it’s more achievable than you might think.
But not anyone can be a tour guide. To earn the spot, you need to be the best of the best. And unfortunately, educating and entertaining tourists can be surprisingly difficult.
Want to know how to be a tour guide? This comprehensive list will give you the rundown to make your dream a reality.
How to Be a Tour Guide
A good tour guide can be the difference between an awful time and a memorable trip. Give your visitors a quality experience with these six tips to become a fantastic tour guide.
1. Focus on the Story
The main purpose of any tour guide is to inform visitors in an entertaining way. A narrative is the best medium to get this done. Whether you’re doing a food or museum tour, there’s always a story to tell.
Help your visitors make sense of disparate artifacts and history by connecting these objects with a single story. Stories are as powerful as they are memorable. So long as it’s appropriate, take the opportunity to insert humor wherever you can to liven up any tour.
And be certain to include a conclusion. Every visitor should have some kind of takeaway when they finish a tour. That’s why you should always conclude with a moral, message, or purpose that can be gleaned from your tour’s story.
It’ll be a bit rough at first, but refine your story after each tour. Soon enough you’ll be informing and entertaining guests with ease.
2. Know What You’re Talking About
If you want to be the best tour guide, you need to be knowledgeable. Educate your guests with more than just peripheral knowledge. The most memorable facts are those that aren’t well-known and are difficult to find elsewhere.
Visitors will be able to tell if your expertise is lacking. Even for simple tours, some visitors will ask questions. In fact, they’ll probably ask a lot more if you leave them in want of information.
Educate yourself on more than just the artifacts and rooms that your tour includes. You should know the history, culture, characters, and more. Read a few books to bolster your knowledge so you can impress visitors without stumbling through an ill-informed tour.
3. Have Great Communication Skills
Tour guides talk a lot. In fact, that’s pretty much all they do. That’s why it’s important that you enunciate clearly and effectively.
For one thing, visitors need to be able to hear you at all times. This could be a challenge even with smaller groups, depending on the location. In addition to speaking clearly, you should project your voice so your visitors can hear you at all times.
But some tours take place in quiet venues or are too loud for tour guides to be heard. When this happens, most tours rely on a tour guide system, which includes a microphone and high-quality headsets.
To learn more about this option, check out plant-tours.com.
4. Be Charismatic
What makes a good tour guide? Charisma. And lots of it.
Being charismatic goes beyond good communication skills. It’s an energy and enthusiasm that can animate even the most bored of guests, such as when parents drag their unwilling children to the museum.
Charisma has a lot to do with your personality, but to some extent, it’s a skill that you can improve. Humor, wits, and a certain sensibility can all lend you a charismatic air.
Keep it simple. Just remember to be energetic and enthusiastic about the tour. You’ll get visitors excited and create a great atmosphere.
5. Get Everyone Involved
Travelers and visitors alike are more interested in participating in history than ever before. When possible, good tour guides can make history come alive with group participation.
Set up a mock scene with a few enthusiastic volunteers. Or, perhaps there’s a song, dance, or another tradition related to the content of the tour. That’s a great opportunity to get visitors moving, talking, and having a memorable time.
Just remember that not everyone will want to be as involved. Respect their boundaries to keep those introverts just as happy as everyone else.
6. Stay Punctual
A tourist guide handles several tours every day. And even if they’re only guiding one tour, they’ll still have to stick to a schedule. To make sure the tour ends at the correct time, you’ll need to be punctual.
This means that a tour guide should be ready to start the tour at the bottom of the hour. And they should always have an eye on the clock to ensure they aren’t falling behind.
Missing a timeframe could result in your visitors missing a tour event entirely. Or, it could mean that you’ll be late when starting the tour with your next group.
It Isn’t Easy Being a Tour Guide
But it’s so worth the effort. Want to know how to be a tour guide? The bottom line is you need to be an excellent communicator with a great personality.
Even for the most sociable, it’s not easy to pull off.
Start with the basics. In addition to improving your knowledge about the tour, take some time to improve your enunciation. It’ll go a long way to impressing tourists and improving their overall experience.