VUSSC/Content/Tourism/Applying Effective Communication Skills/Analysing elements which affect communication

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Analysing factors which affect communication

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Upon completion of this unit you will be able to:
  1. Identify the key features of effective communication
  2. List the different barriers that may hinder effective communication
  3. Apply effective communication strategies to various situations

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Effective communication: Effective communication is when the message sent by the sender is clearly understood by the receiver.

Barriers: Barriers are the things that stop your message from being understood clearly.

Tour commentaries: Tour commentaries are the narratives tour guides use to describe a site and provide information about various aspects of a country. These can include general information and local stories about attractions, events and personalities in the country.


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  1. What do you think is meant by effective communication?
  2. Why is it important?

Jot down your initial thoughts and at the end of the unit try to rewrite your answer. Compare your responses and note how, if at all, they have changed.

2.1. Effective Communication


Effective communication is important because it promotes understanding of messages, information and relationships. Effective communication avoids confusion. It is an essential part of the job of a tour guide. Tourists visit a country in order to see what attractions the country offers and to perceive and experience the country from the tour guide’s perspective. The tour guide is the « eye » through which tourists will see the country and the representative of the people of that country. Communication is the tool the tour guide uses in order to present the country to tourists. It is therefore essential that the tour guide should apply skills to promote effective communication, and should know what the factors are that are barriers to communication in order to prevent such barriers.

2.11. Features of Effective Communication

Features of effective communication The information a tour guide conveys to tourists should be clear, appropriate and accurate, and motivated by a willingness to promote understanding.

  • Clarity

A clear message will promote understanding. Use active listening, simple sentences and unambiguous words. The body language should not contradict, but should confirm the verbal message. Be comprehensive but concise and say exactly what you mean. Apply standard grammatical rules in tour commentaries. Tour commentaries should follow a logical sequence.

  • Appropriateness

The message should also be appropriate. This includes being relevant to the site and interests of the tour group. Both the message and the language used, should fit the audience and the purpose of the communication. How do we keep our message appropriate? We should pitch it to the interests and expectations of the individual or group we are talking to, keep information relevant to the site or subject we are describing, and make sure the tourist is satisfied with the information – it should satisfy their expectations and interests. Use the correct English terminology.

  • Accuracy

When addressing tourists, you should ensure that the information is correct. A message that is not correct will make tourists lose confidence in the abilities of the tour guide to guide them. Make sure that the facts are accurate and up to date. Make sure that the information is taken from reliable sources, such as from reputable magazines, news media, promotional material, industry associations, experts, local communities or first hand experiences such as site visits.

  • Motivation

The tour guide is the link between tourists and the country, so you should remember that your represent your country and people in the eyes of the tourist. Your attitude should therefore by positive in all contact with the tourists. Be accessible to tourists and be willing to share information and advice about the country. Explain the local rules and procedures so that the tourists would understand where these come from and would not break the laws of your country. Maintain a pleasant atmosphere in the group by giving visitors a warm welcome and being friendly, helpful and polite throughout. Be attentive to the needs of the tourists throughout the tour. Also make sure that your body language is positive in all your contact with the tour group.

Remember that you are the leader of the tour group, so should display good leadership skills. This does not mean that you can be bossy, but that the group relies on you to take them safely where they want to go, and will provide them with reliable information and advice about these sites. As part of your role, you should do introductions among the group, involving everybody (encourage participation in discussion, even from quieter members) and accommodate customer interests and comments.


Cartoon showing two individuals (boyfriend and girlfriend) talking over the phone and to set up a date. There is miscommunication between the two. The boyfriend is seen waiting outside venue looking at his wateh. Time is shown on watch.


  1. What in your opinion went wrong?
  2. What would have been the best way to communuicate the message?
  3. What is the result of poor communication?

1. Factors which promote effective communication

Effective commmunication is important because it prevents misunderstanding and mistakes. This is important to tour guides because it helps the tourists to be timely and accurately informed.

What are the factors which promote effective communication?

  1. Use of appropriate language (verbal and non-verbal).
  2. Information passed on at the right time.
  3. Being & keeping all informed.
  4. Accuracy of information
  5. Information delivered in a noise free environment
  6. Being accessible
  7. Active listening
  8. Maitaining effective leadership.