Refreshing Your Enthusiasm and Passion for Guiding Tourists
Research by Sam Ham and Betty Weiler studied a theory of quality in cruise-based interpretive guiding. Results indicated that passengers define quality guides as those who are passionate, insightful, enjoyable, relevant and easy-to-follow. These findings seem consistent with prior research on interpretation.
Preferences for a high-quality guide include a leader who is passionate, who presents information in an enjoyable way, who provides new insights into local features, who makes information relevant to the tourists, and who presents that information in a way that is easy for them to follow. A little planning and a little pizzazz go a long way!
When you’re on top of your game, full of energy and well rested – it is easy to project joy and enthusiasm. But when you’re bogged down by paperwork, long hours and politics, it’s not so easy to maintain your passion for the natural resources you are sharing.
Here are some tips on how to reclaim your passion and enthusiasm.
Visit a new location just for the fun of it…and note what attracts your attention. Keep a little journal of these ahah! moments so you can weave them into your workaday presentations.
- Take time for solitary meditation in a beautiful, natural spot along your tour. These moments will produce insights and observations missed in the hurry, hurry world. Investing even 5 minutes a day can reap rich rewards in the passion department.
- Take a child for a walk along your trail and let the child lead you – speaking only to answer a child’s direct questions. Listen, take note of what the child discovers and appreciates.
Take a camera with you and capture some of your personal, most “appealing” spots along your trail. These can make great reminders about the little details that create stories along your tour.
Invite a local enthusiast to walk with you…and listen to their passion for the spot. Just listen and enjoy their enthusiasm. It’s catching!
Maintaining your passion and enthusiasm is an intangible part of job performance…and quality tour performance depends on a guide’s personal investment of time, attention, and psychological balance to refresh memories. You can use everyday activities to help keep pace with natural changes along the pathway. Finding new perspectives can help you engage changing demographics – such as seasonal visitor differences in families with young children and seniors.
Pathfinding and mentoring roles of can be the most rewarding parts of a tour guide's job. The extra benefit is that these rewarding activitivies can help facilitate tourists’ learning as well as nurture and manage interaction between tourists.
Have fun! Nurture joy!
Journal of Interpretation Research, 2002, vol 7 no. 2, pg. 29-47