Resilient interpersonal communication skills, understanding and being understood

Continuing my series of blogs on developing resilience I would like to turn to the important role interpersonal communication takes. Understanding others relates to my previous blogs on empathy and goes much further.

NLP has a useful communication model that can help understand why communication is often so tricky! Today I will use a simplified version of this model.

Our ability to understand others is dependent on how we interpret the data we take in. We take this information in via our senses including hearing what others say, seeing body language and experiencing emotional responses.

The problem with communication comes when we consider that how we interpret this data varies from person to person. This variety is created by our filters. Our filters are the result of our early experiences, the beliefs we have taken on and other environmental and psychological influencers.

This means that we all process experiences differently and that two people presented with the same data can very easily interpret it differently. In NLP we explore these filters in detail providing us with an opportunity to increase our self awareness. Increased self awareness in turn helps us to both understand others better and to communicate our own needs more effectively.

Broadly speaking there are three main categories of filter described in NLP, generalisations, distortions and deletions. If you go on to study NLP at Practitioner level you will learn about further distinctions in each of these categories. I will provide an overview here today.

As a normal part of child development we learn how to generalise, this is an important strategy and very useful. For example, we learn what a chair is at a certain age and we can then recognise other chairs when we see them. By generalising our learning we can very easily spot all manner of chair variations.

While a useful strategy learning to generalise can also bring us communication issues when we generalise inappropriately. This may cause us to make unhelpful assumptions and/or interpret behaviour or language incorrectly based on our own generalisations.

Add to this our tendency to distort data using more filters. We distort data that does not fit our expectations and generalisations. This can result in inappropriate distorting of meaning or even actual sensory input.

The third category is deletion which may also occur in conjunction with distortion. Here we simply delete anything that does not fit our “map of the world”.  This can include “selective” hearing and even fooling our vision. Have you ever walked right past someone you know in the street and not seen them? Sometimes this happens just because we are preoccupied but can also happen when someone is in an environment we would not normally expect to see them.

Bearing in mind that if two people are communicating with each other that both have their own filters it is a wonder that any of us ever communicate successfully!

For those of you wanting to take the next step on your personal development journey do take a look at the link below. We have decided to offer you the opportunity to experience a free 2 day introduction to NLP workshop. This course is suitable for people with little or no knowledge of NLP. It is a great way to find out if this is for you and to find out if we are the trainers for you. The workshop forms the first two days of an NLP Diploma and the Diploma is the first four days of Practitioner. Contact me direct if you have any questions.

 I am also running a 2 day workshop in September called Transactional Analysis for Coaches, Trainers and Leaders. You can earn an Institute of Leadership and Management Development Award for this workshop by completing a case study after the workshop. For more details click on the link below.

Email me for a booking form on





About Melody @ GWizlearning

Melody spent fourteen years gathering experience of the business world working in banking, telecommunications and the public sector before co-founding The GWiz Learning Partnership in 1993. Melody has a Masters Degree in Applied Positive Psychology, a degree in Psychology and a diploma in Psychotherapy. She is an NLP Master Trainer which allows her to run NLP Practitioner, NLP Master Practitioner and NLP Trainer Training courses certified by the Positive School of Intrinsic Neuro-Linguistc Psychology. She is also a qualified Myers Briggs practitioner and EI practitioner and added to all this is five years Transactional Analysis training, meaning she is able to help organisations access the hidden potential in their staff. She is also in demand for her work in transforming average or even troubled teams into high performers. Melody is a visiting lecturer at University of East London, teaching "Wellbeing and Positive Psychology" to undergraduates. Additionally, she is a member of the CIPD and is ILM accredited. Melody's interests are many and varied. She has a keen interest in personal development, canine and wolf psychology, conservation, movies and running. She also enjoys western horse riding, walking the GWiz dogs, nature watching and stage combat (particularly sword fighting).
This entry was posted in NLP, NLP Master Practitioner, NLP Practitioner, NLP Trainer's Training, Perception, Personal Development, relationships, resilience, Self Esteem and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Resilient interpersonal communication skills, understanding and being understood

  1. anxietyadventures says:

    Great post! This is one of my favorite topics – how can people truly connect if their personal constructions of abstract terms is different?

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