The main difference between an experienced guide and a new guide

By
Nikki Padilla Rivera
|
June 24, 2021
Nikki Padilla Rivera
June 24, 2021

I believe it’s a misconception that most guide skills come with experience.  Most skills, even muscle memory, can be taught.  You’d be surprised at how effective role-playing is at giving confidence in situations you’ve never experienced. However there is ONE skill that is really hard to teach, the art of ‘just figuring it out’. On a tour, things don’t go as planned more often than not. A parade you’ve never heard of might shut down traffic, the bar that you’ve been going to for the last 5 years suddenly is closed, etc. And while these challenges are common, each one is unique in its own way, making it hard to prepare.  The skill itself is then how to quickly find a solution when things go wrong.

Want to up-skill on that as quickly as you can?  Here are some ways to stretch that muscle and get prepared for being unprepared;


1. Have lots of backup options.

“Try to have a list of back-ups for each stop on your tour (keeping in mind your tour’s inclusions that are listed on the website).”

What happens if the metro isn’t running?

Where would you go if the coffee shop you bring guests to is closed without notice?

How will you explain each of these backups in the moment to your guests?


2. Practice how to get back on track.

“Each individual story has its own arc and flow which makes it tough to continue when that’s interrupted.

But you can practice jumping back into your story.”

When something disrupts your flow, it can be hard to keep moving forward without it looking forced.  Practice taking a beat, acknowledging the distraction, then smoothly moving forward again (even if that means you have to skip a few things, or cut to the end).


3. Be able to let things go.

“Sometimes, there’s just no going back…In those cases, you just need to let some things go.

Obviously, nothing that’s integral to the story of the tour (or a tour inclusion), but you might just need to cut some of those fun facts or that favourite shop you like to point out.”

Remember, you’re the only one who knows how the tour is ‘supposed to go’.  If it goes differently, your guests won’t notice.  And, most likely, you’ll have higher expectations for your tour than your guests will, so don’t get too down by having to miss a few moments.

4. Practice pretending that everything is fine.

“No matter what happens, so long as you remain calm and relaxed, your guests will often never realize that something went wrong.”

Practice your ‘poker face’ with breathing and meditation (or poker!).  The more you force yourself to appear calm, the easier it will get when the stakes are high.


For more examples of how to exercise this skill, see the full article here.

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I believe it’s a misconception that most guide skills come with experience.  Most skills, even muscle memory, can be taught.  You’d be surprised at how effective role-playing is at giving confidence in situations you’ve never experienced. However there is ONE skill that is really hard to teach, the art of ‘just figuring it out’. On a tour, things don’t go as planned more often than not. A parade you’ve never heard of might shut down traffic, the bar that you’ve been going to for the last 5 years suddenly is closed, etc. And while these challenges are common, each one is unique in its own way, making it hard to prepare.  The skill itself is then how to quickly find a solution when things go wrong.

Want to up-skill on that as quickly as you can?  Here are some ways to stretch that muscle and get prepared for being unprepared;


1. Have lots of backup options.

“Try to have a list of back-ups for each stop on your tour (keeping in mind your tour’s inclusions that are listed on the website).”

What happens if the metro isn’t running?

Where would you go if the coffee shop you bring guests to is closed without notice?

How will you explain each of these backups in the moment to your guests?


2. Practice how to get back on track.

“Each individual story has its own arc and flow which makes it tough to continue when that’s interrupted.

But you can practice jumping back into your story.”

When something disrupts your flow, it can be hard to keep moving forward without it looking forced.  Practice taking a beat, acknowledging the distraction, then smoothly moving forward again (even if that means you have to skip a few things, or cut to the end).


3. Be able to let things go.

“Sometimes, there’s just no going back…In those cases, you just need to let some things go.

Obviously, nothing that’s integral to the story of the tour (or a tour inclusion), but you might just need to cut some of those fun facts or that favourite shop you like to point out.”

Remember, you’re the only one who knows how the tour is ‘supposed to go’.  If it goes differently, your guests won’t notice.  And, most likely, you’ll have higher expectations for your tour than your guests will, so don’t get too down by having to miss a few moments.

4. Practice pretending that everything is fine.

“No matter what happens, so long as you remain calm and relaxed, your guests will often never realize that something went wrong.”

Practice your ‘poker face’ with breathing and meditation (or poker!).  The more you force yourself to appear calm, the easier it will get when the stakes are high.


For more examples of how to exercise this skill, see the full article here.