Osmo Wiio: Communication usually fails, except by accident

Jason Fried
Nov 9, 2015 · 1 min read

Osmo Wiio is a Finnish researcher of human communication. He has studied, among other things, readability of texts, organizations and communication within them, and the general theory of communication. His laws of communication are the human communications equivalent of Murphy’s Laws.

  • If communication can fail, it will.
  • If a message can be understood in different ways, it will be understood in just that way which does the most harm.
  • There is always somebody who knows better than you what you meant by your message.
  • The more communication there is, the more difficult it is for communication to succeed.

And I particularly like his observation that anytime there are two people conversing, there are actually six people in the conversation:

  1. Who you think you are
  2. Who you think the other person is
  3. Who you think the other person thinks you are
  4. Who the other person thinks he/she is
  5. Who the other person thinks you are
  6. Who the other person thinks you think he/she is

If you find this interesting, you can read more about Osmo and his theories on communication.

Signal v. Noise

Strong opinions and shared thoughts on design, business, and technology. Since 1999. Work together the easy way with our all-new version 3 at https://basecamp.com

Jason Fried

Written by

Founder & CEO at Basecamp. Co-author of Getting Real, Remote, and REWORK. http://basecamp.com

Signal v. Noise

Strong opinions and shared thoughts on design, business, and technology. Since 1999. Work together the easy way with our all-new version 3 at https://basecamp.com

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