talking points for nature guides
index to talking points for nature guides
Tips for handling mixed groups
updated Apr 2020
Visitors can be a dream or a nightmare. It's all up to YOU!

More about some typical visitor behaviour that guides may find difficult to handle. Be aware, that half of the problem is YOU.

Mixed groups can be the easiest or more difficult visitors to handle. It's all up to YOU!

So you ended up with a family of dad keen on photography, small kids wanting to run all over the place, mum afraid of the sun and getting her shoes wet.

Find out why the group is at the walk. Parents may be there for the kids. So focus on the kids.

To keep them together
  • Be animated and excited about things that THEY find.
  • Highlight things that are ahead to encourage slow ones to keep up.

Often you end up with only a few of the group interested in listening to you while the rest wander off. This is OK. As long as everyone seems to be doing what they want to do.

Good things about mixed groups

Together, they have broad interests. There's a good chance at least one of them will be interested in anything that you find. Deploy the kids and photographers to find things. More about handling kids and about handling photographers.

Not so good things about mixed groups

There's at least one person who is restless and won't listen. This is good practice for you to keep your stories short and relevant.

The group doesn't stick together and wander all over the shore. This should be minimised if you had done a good pre-walk briefing about not climbing rocks and sticking together. Try to find out what most of them will find interesting and try to do a route with those things so the group sticks together.

Some tips for Walk Coordinators

Try to group visitors so they share interests. It's easier for a guide to handle a group of individuals with the same purpose. Look out for stragglers and help take care of them so the main guide can deal with the main group.

Don't be a bad guide. Be a good guide instead.

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