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Best Practices for Sharing Information on Guided Tours

By Claire Bown How & when should we share information on guided tours? How can we do this productively and strategically? In this week's post I share best practices for sharing your information and content on tour. Plus I share some extra tips on how to think about handling information in a different way.  Many of us are experts in our field and want to share that incredible knowledge with the groups we lead. However, as I said last week, we need to think about how we can use the information and knowledge we have in a more productive and strategic

Information Overload: How Much is too Much on a Guided Tour?

by Claire Bown How much information is too much on a guided tour? When does information become a burden and how much do we actually remember afterwards? Traditional lecture-style 'walk and talk ' guided tours with an expert guide are still all-to-common and a standard way of 'presenting' an historic site, a city or a museum to the public. However, participants on these style of tours will remember very little of the information they are told, less than 5% in fact. They will become exhausted (and sometimes irritated) by the non-stop flow of information. They will leave their tour none

How to Ask Brilliant Questions that Get Results

How can you easily make your guided tours, educational programmes and online sessions more engaging and more interactive? By asking brilliant questions that get results. When you ask insightful, well-worded questions AND make your participants feel comfortable enough to answer them (employ those facilitation skills), people will respond and you won't be faced with the terrifying sound of silence. But how do you ask brilliant questions? This is a subject that has followed me around over the last 9 years as I've spoken to guides all over the world grappling to get to grips with phrasing questions in the best

Visible Thinking Routine of the Week: Headlines

⭐️VISIBLE THINKING ROUTINE OF THE WEEK ⭐️ HEADLINES This weeks VTR of the week is HEADLINES. This routine helps capture the essence or heart of an idea being discussed. It is also used for summarising and synthesising ideas. Composed of just ONE question that asks: 'If you were to write a headline for this topic or issue right now that captured the most important aspect that should be remembered, what would that headline be?' This routine works well at the end of a discussion and in combination with other routines (such as 10x2+Step Inside + Headlines). It's a good way of rounding

Stuck in a Tour Rut? 6 Tips to Refresh your Guided Tour for 2020!

Are you looking forward to leading your tours again in 2020? Are you getting excited by the thought of the new season starting?   If you're not sure about your answers to those questions, maybe you need to shake things up a little. We have a responsibility to do so much more than just ‘inform’ on our tours - people want to be surprised, moved, connected, and even transformed when they book a guided tour in 2020. So, if you're feeling jaded and uninspired, it's time to make some changes. First, get out of your comfort

Our 6 Most Popular Blogs of 2019

What did you enjoy reading the most in 2019? It's always good to reflect at the end of the year before starting a new one - and it was really interesting to see which of our blog posts were the most popular! Did you catch all of these? Scroll through this list, and catch up on our top blogs you may have missed throughout the year. 1. Visual Thinking Strategies and Visible Thinking No surprise this one - this blog has been a perennial favourite since it was first published way back in 2013. Update and refreshed for 2019, it

A Quick Guide to Facilitation Skills

On my Visible Thinking in the Museum trainings we teach participants facilitation skills for use on guided tours or educational programmes with art and museum objects. I use this image (above) of an angry teacher (!) to get the discussion started with the question 'What is facilitation?' What is facilitation? What is a facilitator?  The word facilitate actually comes from the Latin which means to ‘make easy’. A facilitator is basically a person whose role is to guide people through a process to an effective result. On a guided tour or educational programme, facilitation is centred around guiding processes and creating participation. How

How to Use Visible Thinking Routines on Guided Tours

As routines are part of the classroom, so they are also an important part of the guided tour experience. As you welcome guests or visitors at the start of a tour, you will take a few minutes to remind visitors of any guidelines to keep visitors and any historic sites or collections safe. You will also introduce them to the theme and structure of the tour. If done well, these guidelines help participants to understand what to expect and what to do. Imagine the benefits then of a routine that would help visitors to make sense of objects/artworks/buildings in a

Reflections on ‘Visible Thinking in the Mauritshuis’

By Lorna Cruickshanks I was recently lucky to have the opportunity to join the special edition two-day ‘Visible Thinking in the Museum' training led by Claire Bown of Thinking Museum with co-host Gundy van Dijk in the Mauritshuis. Having worked in audience participation for a number of UK museums over the years, the practice of facilitating and encouraging interactive and creative engagement with collections was not new to me, but the particular approach of Visible Thinking was. Visible Thinking is a research-based approach to teaching and learning developed within schools by Project Zero in the early 2000s, which Claire Bown has