Crowd Control Techniques
Voice –Your voice is one of the best tools you have to keep your audience focused and interested.
Strength and Volume – Some people speak very softly. This can be an asset if your audience will keep quiet to hear you. But, usually they won’t. So, what do you do? Warm up your vocal cords on your way to the Museum. Hum, run through the vowels, sing the alphabet, getting progressively louder as you go.
Pitch – Ladies especially need to listen to the pitch. High pitched voices are not only hard on the ears, but also are hard to hear. When you do your warmups, work at a lower pitch than you normally speak.
Speed – When you are nervous you have a tendency to talk too fast. One of the best things you can do is take a deep breath, pause, and slow down.
Inflection – Do not talk at one pitch all the time or one rhythm. The more you change inflection and speed, the easier you are to listen to. Listen to the rise and fall of the delivery of radio announcers.
Smile – Put a smile on your face and you will have a smile in your voice.
Eye Contact –
Look people in the eye. They will look back. They can’t help it, and they will follow your eyes. Look at what you point to and their eyes will follow. Describe what you are pointing to, then bring your arm back to your side. Then, re-establish eye contact with the group as you make your next move.
Watch the group. Are they wandering, talking, bored? You’re talking too much. Move on to the next station in the tour.
Stay in the Lead –
Being in front, you can control the pace and see the spots to stop in advance. Face the group. Do not walk and talk. Lead the group to the next station, stop, turn around, face the group and speak.
When children are present, require them to stay with their parents. Children, properly utilized, can be a definite addition to the tour because of their power of observation and enthusiasm. Keep them occupied by asking them questions.
Conducting a Tour
The goal of an interpretive tour is to develop the sensitivity, awareness, understanding, appreciation and commitment in members of the group. Four points are inherent in such a tour: take charge, describe what you plan to do, do it and end it.
Take Charge –
Start with the introduction of yourself. Stay with a personable demeanor, not a formal “museum guide” tone. During the tour, you will give the same information as every other tour guide, but you should give it through your own personality.
Describe What You Plan to Do –
Give a brief introductory statement and description of the activities that will follow. Explain what will be involved, e.g., the length of the tour, special conditions (stairs to climb, etc.). Tell your theme, e.g., “I’d like to take you on a tour into the past, of 500 years of maritime history …” Foster an atmosphere that elicits questions.
Do It –
But, before you do, prepare a great deal of ground work. Inventory the tour route. Bring everything you are going to say and do to mind. Be ready.
End It –
Few things are as disconcerting as a tour that comes to an uncertain end. Plan a concluding statement that will neatly wrap up any loose ends. Summarize what you hope to have accomplished and notify the visitors that the tour has ended. You told them what you were going to do; you did it; now you’re telling them what you did; and end it – good bye. Be sure to thank them for their time, attention and appreciation.