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URR Tour Guide Handbook
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Tour Guide Tips

1. Face the crowd, not what you're talking about. Tour guides often get so wrapped up in their subject they forget to face the people they are addressing. One secret to avoid this is to "deputize" somebody in the crowd to interrupt you if they can't hear you. (walking backwards)
2. Be personal. No matter how much we love the Woods, it's a fact that people connect with people. So it's good to have a few personal anecdotes ready, even if they're just about past tours you've done. You'll build a more personal connection to your group and create a memorable tour.
3. Tell a story (historical or contemporary). Make sure you have a few fun and compelling stories to tell about the Woods and sites you're looking at. People are more likely to feel engaged when they are listening to a story, rather than a list of dates and names.
4. Get moving right away. Tours often get bogged down before they ever begin with tour guides doing the "big wind-up'-introductions, setting the theme, providing context, etc. Plan to scrap 90% of it.
5. Don't worry about being perfect. People don't expect you to be perfect. Set the stage for human imperfection by acknowledging that people who may know more than you should speak up and share their knowledge with the group. The more interactive the tour is, the better
6. Get help to get organized. Try to get a volunteer to check people in so you can chat with tour goers. People give tours for many reasons, but a big one is to meet new people, and the time before the tour is a great chance to get to know your group.
7. End on time. (Or try very hard to.) Try like crazy to end on time. Nobody wants to feel like they are in tour jail. Tours on paper always seem too short and on the ground are always too long. Two hours is the absolute maximum. An hour to an hour and a half is better.

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