VUSSC/Content/Tourism/Applying Effective Communication Skills/Key concepts of communication

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Communication and key concepts

1.1 What is communication?

First, let us look at how other people have defined communication.

You may look at this link from a wikipedia entry: definitions

You may identify the different key words used to define communication in the above entry. In this course we define communication as the act of sending and receiving intended messages. Effective communication implies verifying that the receiver has understood the message as intended and that a subsequent response is observed. It is something that tour guides do every day, so how a tour guide communicates is very important. We will now briefly define other concepts that are specific to communication in a tour guiding context.

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Think about the last time you chatted with a friend.
  • Was your message clearly understood?
  • What do you think effective communication means?
  • Take a few minutes to jot down your ideas.
  • At the end of this section, try again to explain in your own words, what you think effective communication means.
  • Compare your initial definition with your new response and observe if your ideas have changed

1.2 Concepts of communication

Let us now look at some key concepts related to communication in tour guiding operations:

Effective communication: Is a reciprocal sharing of information and ideas of written, oral and non-verbal information according to a common set of rules (eg language, non-verbal communication, symbols). It includes the use of active listening skills and displaying an openness to other people's ideas and thoughts. When the process of exchanging information between sender and receiver is successful, it means they use a common set of symbols to which they both attach the same meaning throughout the process of encoding, transmitting, and decoding intended messages.

tourist: Someone who travels for pleasure and recreation, to a place other than where they normally live. The purpose of the travel and stay elsewhere could be for health, sport, holiday, study, religious, business, family, mission or conference reasons.

tour guide: A professional whose job is to lead or direct visitors in a country, while pointing out and explaining to the travellers and tourists different places of interest.

tour commentaries: are the narration a tour guide prepares and uses in order to explain and describe tourist attractions to a tour group, which includes giving facts and answering questions from tourists, as well as explaining local rules and taboos about the site.

Barriers of communication: are a range of physical, mental or emotional hindrances that can prevent messages from being passed on successfully between sender and receiver during the process of communication}}

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We have developed a crossword puzzle for you. See if you can draw it using these instructions, and then use the information we have just discussed, to complete it. Have fun!

Instructions for drawing your own 'communication concepts' crossword puzzle:

Draw a table in which you have 15 columns down and 12 bars across. Now in the 1st column: color the first 3 and the last 2 blocks in the column. Mark the first block no. 1 (down).

column 2: color the first 3, skip (leave blank) 1 block and color another 5 squares. Skip 1, color the last 2 again.

column 3: Color 2, skip 3 (number the first of these 7), color 4, skip one, color one, skip one.

column 4: Color 3, skip 1, color 5, skip 1, color 1, skip 1.

column 5: skip 4 (mark the first block 10), color 5, skip 1, color 1, skip 1.

column 6: color 3, skip 1, color 5, skip 1, color 1, skip 1.

column 7: color 2, skip 10 of which you mark the first block 2.

column 8: color 3, skip 1, color 5, skip 1, color 1, skip 1.

colomn 9: color 3, skip 1, color 5, skip 1, color 1, skip 1.

column 10: skip 9 (and mark the first block 3), color 2, skip 1.

column 11: color 3, skip 1, color 7, skip 1.

column 12: skip 9 (and mark the first no. 9), color 2, skip 1.

column 13: color 3, skip 1, color 8.

column 14: color 1, skip 8 (and mark the first block 4), color 3.

column 15: color 3, skip 1, color 8.


1. What do we call someone who travels for pleasure and recreation, to a place other than where they normally live? (7 down)

2. What do we call a person who leads and directs visitors at tourist sites and attractions? (10 down)

3. What do we call communication which involves successful sharing of information and ideas according to a common set of rules? (9 down)

4. What are the hindrances called which prevent successul communication? (8 down)

5. What is the narration called which tour guides use in order to explain attractions and answer questions? (15 across)

6. One of the major activities of a tourist in another country. (9 across)

7. Tourists often use this mode of transport. (3 down)

8. Some tourists visit another country for this purpose. (10 across)

9. An important part of effective communication. (9 down)

10. Tourists often carry their personal belongings in this. (3 down)


1. tourist

2. tour guide

3. effective

4. barriers

5. tour commentary

6. traveling

7. bus

8. conference

9. listening

10. bag