Top 10 Characteristics of a Great Tour Guide
When visiting Varanasi for a boat ride along the Ganges River and a visit to each and every Ghat is the absolute musts. Each and every Ghat has its own meaning and use. There are not only lots to see, but also lots to learn about each Ghat along the Ganges River but if you are unaware of all these, its history and relevance, how, why and when, you’ll be missing out on so much. It all comes down to information and communication – in other words, the quality of your tour guide in order to get the most out of a visit to a significant site.
As well as the local lingo the tour guide should speak a range of languages, including his own. The way of speaking should be clear, audible and confident. He may be asked to wear earphones or use other types of audio equipment depending on the type of tour.
Punctuality also matters the most as the tour leader should be waiting for you when you arrive, rather than the other way around. Ideally, without causing any delays for the group as a whole they should also ensure that other tour members arrive and depart on time.
Being friendly is key to a great tour guide. Without coming across as intimidating, patronising or arrogant – not a good look in a tour guide they also need to have a certain level of authority, and be able to keep tour members together and focused.
In-depth knowledge of the site, its history and importance are the qualities a good tour guide should have. For being a great tour guide he should have passion for his subject and can also convey his enthusiasm to the group. To make the site really come alive such passion can be contagious and inspiring. In order to enhance each tour member’s overall understanding of the site as a whole being able to convey a sense of the overall cultural background is also very important.
Rather than treating the tour as a one-person show or a ‘be quiet and listen’ school lesson effective tour guides also invite questions and interaction from tour members.
Rather than repeating a list of facts by rote great tour guides share their knowledge in an engaging, illuminating and entertaining way.
Equally, a good tour guide also knows when to include a little quiet time, and when to let the site speak for itself as a certain level of friendly humour is essential.
Including different age groups the tour needs to be relevant to a broad range of people. Be aware of tour members with special needs is what a good tour leader also needs to.
As far as possible a good and a great tour guide should always has a flexible approach. Being flexible means being open to serendipity, taking a moment to enjoy spontaneous moments like a particularly perfect sunset.
10. Good Pacing
The speed of the narrative or the pace of a walking tour should be neither too fast nor too slow rather like Goldilocks, it should be just right.