Being a tour guide is a unique opportunity to live and work with the must-see places and sites of the world. There are many different types of tours and so there are a great many types of tour guides. However, there are some essential skills all tour guides must have in order to be effective.
1. Oratory skills- A tour guide must have great communication skills and be able to talk in depth and at length repeatedly throughout the days and weeks. This takes a lot of toll on a person’s tongue, mouth and throat and experience and skill at speeches and talking would be an essential skill for any tour guide.
2. Knowledge- A tour guide must have extensive and accurate knowledge of the flora, fauna and history of the local area as well as the site or sites they are specifically touring. A tour group tends to task many similar questions but there will always be something new.
3. Research skills- The biggest difference between a good tour guide and a bad one is the accuracy and how up to date their information is. A tour guide should have good research skills so they have right info the information.
4. Engaging personality- To provide enjoyable tours, a tour guide should also have an outgoing, enthusiastic and engaging personality. Someone who enjoys questions and can entertain their group is something tour companies look for in who they hire.
5. An interest in traveling- Many tour companies try to find guides who have traveled extensively so they may be able to better serve the variety of cultures and ethnicities they will encounter in a tour group.
6. Organizational skills- There is a great amount of organization needed for being a tour guide both in the information they many provide and as well as taking account of everybody in a single tour group to ensure their safety.
7. Memory- A tour guide should have a high capacity for memorization because of the amount they are expected to know and be able to tell off the top of their head without going back to look things up.
8. Patience- Everything seems obvious to the one who knows the answer, and as a tour guide you will often encounter situations where a great deal of patience is needed. It is also necessary to be able to cope with stressed tourists and possible dissatisfied customers.
9. Confidence- As the face and voice of ancient castles and living cultures, a certain amount of confidence is needed to project authority and mastery of the information. A hesitant or unconfident tour guide is not only unpleasant to watch but also will not inspire confidence in their tour.
10. Leadership skills- To ensure an enjoyable and effective tour, a guide must have some leadership abilities to encourage and direct the group when needed. Depending on the type of tour offered, the guide may have to travel with a group for a long time or over significant distance and to do this it is essential they are a good leader.