A wide outlook of the guide is a pledge of that his trips are entertaining and exciting for people with different interests. But knowledge does not come from nowhere, it is the result of constant self-improvement. What ways of self-education are available to a modern specialist?
Exploring paper sources is the oldest way of learning. Guides draw a variety of facts from the works of historians and culture experts. However you shouldn’t add those in the strict scientific form to your tour, is better to elaborate those, adding emotions, because tourists need to be inspired, and not lulled by dry figures.
You must give considerable time to reading
You can find almost finished stories blocks in the books of writers, history popularizers. Some of them are passionate about a particular historical period, others about a particular city. And they can make colorful and exciting speeches about their passion, presenting not only dry information about events and personalities, but also stories, anecdotes, parables, legends.
An excellent source are celebrities memoirs or recollections of their contemporaries. A biased view allows us to see living people, not portraits from textbooks.
A lot of information you can find in the city archives: construction of famous buildings, criminal incidents, cultural events. However, is not as simple to extract information from primary documents as from the books, cause is "an impression of life" rather than a systematized and classified data. Therefore, you need to learn to work with such documents.
Tour guides may not have the skills for studying the archives and thus can use all the information from those, as there are experts who professionally elaborate such documentation. They bring the data into a "digestible" form, the information becomes clear and interesting to people without historical, architectural and other special education. The researchers also collect evidences from different sources and track scientists reviews. A result of this work are detailed lectures on a particular topic.
Where the guides may find out more about those? Firstly, at the performances taking place under the auspices of various scientific knowledge promoting societies. Secondly, at the courses held by tour guides leagues or similar organizations.
Courses are a great opportunity to ask questions to more experienced colleagues
A lot of useful things can be found at the events held by other guides. It is not only history, architecture and ethnography information, but also a way of behaving, methods of speech presentation and skills of communication with tourists.
You shouldn’t neglect the Internet, a mind blowing source of information. And we are not talking about the electronic versions of books: the work with those is not different from the use of paper copies. The World Wide Web has its own methods for the collection and dissemination of information. These are forums on specialized websites, history groups in social networks, thematic communities of the "live journals".
On such websites meet amateur historians and fans of the cities. They discuss not only the information that they read somewhere, but the one got by their own efforts. Some people study the family archives of several generations, others go to the undergrounds or climb on the roofs, still others wander with a camera on the back streets in search of surprises.
"Oh, here you can bring tourists! They hardly will see somewhere such a sign"
Not all documents presented there claim to have an historical value, but an entertaining urban legend or a signature moment animating the story are quite acceptable. "Unpublicized" attractions or an unusual look at well-known places inspire the creation of uncommon trips about mystical nooks of the city, culinary habits of the residents and others.
Tools for guide self-education are varied: among those both the tradition-bound people and the innovation supporters will find a suitable one. No matter which way you expand your horizons, the most important is that you do it.