Paul Watzlawick's First Axiom

Topics: Communication, Psychology, Science Pages: 2 (560 words) Published: May 15, 2013
Paul Watzlawick was an Austrian-born psychotherapist, psychoanalytic, sociologist and philosopher. He was best recognized for his venture in schizophrenia, as well as his communication theory regarding the five axioms. (Sack, Herald) His first axiom – “one cannot not communicate” – states that no matter how much a person tries not to communicate, there will some forms of communication going on. (Blanford, Roxanne) Watzlawick believed that every little behavior sends a message, regardless whether it’s intentional or otherwise. Therefore, all behavior has communicative value.

When I first read about his theory, I honestly thought that it was unreasonable. Personally, I thought that sometimes unintentional actions do not mean that one is sending any form of communication. However, according to Kit Welchlin, a well-known public speaker, he states that “no matter what you say, or don’t say, people apply a meaning to it”. He gave an example of his observation on how the value of a co-worker from a marble factory was recognized by the messages that the manager sent through his actions. In addition, Eric Myers, founder and C.E.O. of Myers Business Diagnostics and Solutions LLC, said that people can make “judgment calls” to the non-verbal actions that the other is showing. “Words is only 7% of communication, body language 55%, and tone 38%”, Myers’ said at one of his talks. Another person who agreed to the theory is Dr. Amy Gaffney, an assistant professor from University of Kentucky. She believes that many people don’t always realize that anything that they do could “potentially be perceived as a form of communication”. She gave a simple example of how a student who’s nervously presenting in front would react to her “funny face” that she made because of the other noisy students behind her class.

Besides the three influential speakers/researchers that I’ve mentioned above, there were also many other researchers whom have agreed at some point towards...
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