There has been a debate raging recently about facts, statistics, and data around Laughter, Humor, and Laughter Yoga. Having completed a Research Study with Deakin University last year, I now understand why they are so important. Because others believe they are. My personal challenge has been to define what facts are relevant, to what group, and why. Then Aretha Franklin came to mind. Back in 1967, she sang a song called Respect. Near the end, her backing singers warbled “re re re re re re re re respect”

RE-al, RE-levant, RE-flective, RE-spectful

An old National Speakers trick that I learnt, was to create acronyms, and/or metaphors, to help you remember certain things, or to make a point to an audience. So here’s my theory on facts, and stats, and data, based on Aretha’s song

Are the facts RE-al???

With the advent of the Internet, I’m not sure there is anything out there that is the truth anymore. In other words, and from what I’ve seen, it is very much about people’s opinions, rather than sound evidence. Bloggers are the new information providers, and journalists so often refer to Bloggers. The media speculates, rather than reports, and the reports are not based on evidence, but people’s speculation. So when I have to present to whatever group it is I have the good fortune to be able to share Laughter Yoga with, I make sure that my evidence is real. I just came back from opening a Medical Conference with 100 doctors in our Nation’s Capital Canberra. My information had to be sound, so I asked our own Good Doctor Kataria for some medical facts, and the folks who were there soaked it up without question. Doctors like to hear from other doctors.

Are they RE-levant???

Being relevant is all about connecting with your audience, and getting the message across in a succinct fashion. Statistics can do this very effectively. Time and time again, I’ve heard presenters give national, or worldwide statistics, to a local community group. They only want to hear what’s happening in their territory. The Local Council has all of this, and it’s usually freely available on their website.

Are they RE-flective???

Will the data that you provide have them thinking deeply about your message, or falling asleep because of it. I find that there is a Representative Association for just about everything. Calling them to ask about what’s happening with their Members makes them reflect. Especially when you start to take about future trends. I’ve never had an Association refuse a request from me to help their members.

RESPECT your audience

And finally, and most importantly, your audience is not dummies. They can spot a fraud a mile away. If you don’t hknow the answer to something then say so, and go and find out. I remember the story about our own Good Doctor when he was embarking on his first National Tour of the USA. His grasp of the English language was limited, as was his knowledge at that time. So he decided to come up with an answer for every question, and it was “I don’t know”. From there he found out, and is who he is today because of it.