It is impossible to know where to begin to emphasize the fundamental role of communication in the life and work of a guide. How does one decide which type of communication is most important? Verbal or non-verbal? We can probably all agree that some of the most powerful moments in the bush have occurred with no talking at all, but how did we get into that position in the first place?
The first contact with your guest is the first moment of communication – and this invariably happens at the marketing and internet end of things, when they are not yet on safari! Think about it. What is being communicated to your guests when they visit your website? Or see an advertisement? Non-verbal: the images, words and design 'speak' to the potential guest about the Possibilities of the Safari Experience.
This sets the ball rolling in shaping their Expectations that YOU will have to deal with, regardless of your or their background, language and personality.
- It is important to remember that your guests come with a predetermined expectation.
- Your first role is to 'meet & greet',make comfortable and get busy unpacking these expectations.
- Your body language, eye contact, voice control and LISTENING SKILLS will be the first critical steps in communicating with your guests
Over time we will look at a wide range of key communication skills – some obvious,some not so, that you can use in your daily pursuit in the bush.
If you have any great tips or techniques that you use, feel free to share them with us and we'll put them into the discussion.
Future articles in the section will cover incorporating History and Culture into safaris (or vice versa if you're a culture guide), Communication with animals