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Tips & Tools: Positioning on Guided Tours

Positioning is key on guided tours

How often do you think about how you position yourself on a guided tour? And how you position the group too? It can make all the difference!


  • Before introducing an object/artwork to someone on your tour, see it properly for yourself. Look at it from a variety of difficult angles (as your participants would) and see what is easy or tricky to see from each position. Find the best spot to position your group so that they can all see well (and hear you too!).
  • Literally, you should stand in a good position to reduce the strain on your body – back straight, feet slightly apart, weight evenly distributed,
  • Ensure your position is not blocking anyone’s view or blocking the way for other visitors (leave a space behind or around you so that others can get past you
  • Stand next to the item you are discussing – building, object or artwork. Make sure you’re not standing underneath a speaker or an audio-visual display either!
  • Face the group – not the object itself!


  • Make sure group participants are comfortable where they are standing
    • don’t make people stand in the sun or in a very windy spot (It’s very hard to participate when you are boiling hot or freezing cold. This has happened to me on numerous occasions – think about your group’s welfare and comfort!
    • Make sure they are not getting bumped or knocked by other people. If so, move them to somewhere more comfortable.
  • Discretely observe your group and notice how they position themselves at each stop. Some participants might have a preference as to who they prefer to stand next to. Pay attention to where the participants stand in relation to you too. Is there someone who will always position themselves close to you? Is there someone else who will always stand at the back or will separate themselves from the group slightly? These intentional positioning moves might tell you surprising things about the group members.
  • In order to encourage participants to interact with one another, indicate a horseshoe or semi-circle shape for your group to stand at each stop.  Everyone will therefore be able to see each other. You want to ensure that you arrange the group positioning in such as way to make it most conducive to the atmosphere you want to create. If it’s not working, then just ask people to move in or move back.
  • You can also use positioning to encourage quieter members of the group to share their thoughts by bringing them closer to you (they won’t have to raise their voice as much and it will make the first comment easier to say) and to discourage participants who might be keen to monopolise the discussion by moving them further away from you. Smaller group members can also be brought to the front to see and hear better!