Giving a speech to a tour group is speaking to a captive audience. The idea of a speech is to inform people about the salient points of the tour, but not to weigh them down with trivial information. No matter if you are in charge of taking a high school class around the factory or if you are leading a group on the Trans-Siberian Express, there are a few rules to follow when you are giving a speech on a tour.
Know your material. As well as the basic facts, also become familiar with the background information of the tour. Different individuals may ask different questions and you want to be able to provide them with the information they request.
Frame your tour speech using the 5-Ws: who, what, when, where and why. Cover all these points and you can be sure that you are addressing the essential information.
Establish at the beginning of the tour speech whether people can ask questions as you go along, or if you prefer that they hold their queries until you are finished. A rough guideline is that with a group of 10 or more it is better to hold the questions, as otherwise you may get sidetracked.
Error on the side of being brief. Stick to the essential information and if people are interested they will ask questions that will prompt you to continue speaking. Nothing bores a tour audience faster than a guide droning on just to hear the sound of her own voice.
Rehearse your tour speech. Practice does make perfect, so the first time you deliver the speech, present it to yourself in front of a full-length mirror. By watching yourself you can spot where you need to improve your delivery. It is also an opportunity to see your own quirks and nervous twitches that you may want to eliminate before you address the tour group.
Speak slowly and clearly. The best tour information about special attractions or upcoming events can be lost if you breeze over the material and talk too quickly. Listen to a recording of yourself. Put yourself in the place of the tour group and assess whether you can understand your entire speech.
Maintain eye contract with the tour group. It is important to look at the audience when you are delivering the speech, rather than gazing at the floor or looking out the window. Keeping an eye on your audience also helps you gauge whether or not they are following your speech.
Jody Hanson began writing professionally in 1992 to help finance her second around-the-world trip. In addition to her academic books, she has written for "International Living," the "Sydney Courier" and the "Australian Woman's Forum." Hanson holds a Ph.D. in adult education from Greenwich University.