3 The unspoken message and the right humour balance
Your safety talk will actually convey some subliminal messages without you actually knowing. Here are a few that I like to get across without verbally mentioning them.
- · Now is a time to sit down & listen to what we say. Take it all on board.
- · You are being taken care of by a team of professional guides. We are in charge, your safety is paramount.
- · Do exactly what we say and it will cut down the chances of any safety compromises.
The humour balance can be a tricky point to cross. Too many jokes and laughs and your customers won’t take you seriously. No jokes and smiles and your customers will become uptight and nervous. Trip leaders who can give a seamless safety talk with lots of humour have years of experience on the river and giving safety talks. New guides should develop their own style of delivery that suits their sense of humour.
4 The wrap up & mantra
Once you have given all of the information to your guests it’s a good idea to ask a few questions to make sure the information has been absorbed. I like to ask the following 3 questions
1. What do you do if you fall out of the raft?
2. What do you do if you cannot swim back to the raft?
3. What do you do if the raft goes upside-down?
From this I can create a 3 point mantra that gets repeated to all guests before we drop into any big rapids
1 If you fall out of the raft smile, hold your paddle and swim back.
2 If you cannot get back to the boat smile, hold your paddle get on your back with your feet up (ww swim position).
3 If the raft flips smile, hold your paddle and stay with the raft.
The reason we ask the customers to smile is quite simple. If they concentrate on smiling they will not panic. FACT
5 The language & communication thing
Most travelled experienced guides will be able to guide in more than one language. It’s always a good idea to be able to pick up most basic commands in another language. Remember just because your crew don’t speak your language it’s not their fault.
It’s a lot easier for one person to learn a few basic commands in one language than it is to teach 6 or 7 people all of the commands in a foreign. So if you get a crew who do not speak your language you as the guide should make an attempt to learn a few words in their language.
A back up plan I have is that I have practiced is delivering a safety talk without talking. The common saying “Actions speak louder than words” really does work, try it.