NLP Communication model the only 1 model to improve communication

The NLP communication model can help us to understand how we process the information received from outside, and its effect on our behavior, thoughts, and feeling.

In this post, we will understand the NLP Communication model, with examples and how this NLP communication model is useful?

NLP Communication model explained

We, humans, are meaning-making machines. We are continuously making maps in our brain. Read my blog on Map is not territory for details.

This process began from the moment we were born. We are busy making sense of the world or in simple terms trying to find meaning. These are also known as maps in NLP.

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Our brain takes 4 to 20 million bits per second of information through our five senses, this happens continuously.

Our conscious mind can process only around 200 kilobits per second. Most of the information is taken and processed unconsciously.

For example, While you are reading this blog, can you observe how you feel about the chair on which you are sitting right now? Or how is the temperature? Or how is your breathing?

We notice many things in our surroundings but most of them remain unconscious.

Consciously processing this information is not at all practical and possible.

So whenever, the brain has so much data to process, we delete, distort, and generalize. These are our unique filters. The moment the information passed through these filters thoughts is formed.

nlp communication model

This is a continuous process, which results in creating an internal representation of the thought. 

This internal representation is made on pictures, movies, sound, emotions, feeling, tastes, and smells. This internal representation can trigger our behavior to behave in a certain way.

How we behave is based on our internal map. 

So what we believe is reality, largely based on how we form a map inside our head. 


Try this, On a piece of paper write some 10 or 15 lines about “The ball”. Once you are done ask your friend to do so. In the end, compare the answer, see how you both understand the ball differently.

The point is the reality changes from person to person, it is based on what happens inside the head.

To build this internal representation or map in our brain we apply three filters, Deletion, Distortion, and generalization.

We are always using these filters to make our beliefs correct.

In short, we see the reality, the way we want to see it.

Now let us understand these filters in little more detail.

Filter 1: Deletion

Deletion happens when we deliberately focus on certain aspects of life or matter. The deletion is all about focus. 

When we are focusing on one thing, event, aspect, picture, or sound et., we deliberately omit so much information from outside of the focus area.

This helps the brain to absorb as much as possible from the focused area, this is the compensation mechanism for processing large amounts of information.

For example, have you seen that test awareness video?

No, here is the link. At the end of the video, you should understand the concept much better.

Filter 2 Distortion

The distortion occurs when we start to make assumptions, imagination, or hallucinations for filling the gaps in the information provided. 

The distortion is about the accuracy, the brain wants more accuracy. For accuracy, it takes as much as information possible into consideration. The brain needs to decide how much information it requires to be accurate. 

Practically taking too much data for accuracy is not possible. This leaves us feeling overwhelmed and no information is useful.

In short, we feel reality with our imagination and assumptions. 

For Example, you must have played that communication rely game.

In the game secret message is said in ears, by the time it reaches to the last person whole message changes.

Filter 3: Generalisation

We draw conclusions from life events and park similar experiences into one segment. 

So the generalization is the collection of the conclusion we have formed for the life events.

The mind needs only two or three similar experiences to form generalizations for those experiences. 

These generalizations are triggered automatically when we face those similar kinds of situations again.  The fun part of this is that it is largely unconscious.

So behave automatically when faced with certain types of similar experiences. 

This also fires off the mood and behavior in those kinds of circumstances. 

For Example, You feel annoyed by an unplanned meeting arranged by your boss at the last moment. Now, this is happening for a week, next time you get a call from your boss at the same time. Even though it is for some other work you will feel annoyed.

Let’s take another example.

We learn to operate the computer once, for using a new computer we need not learn the computer all over again.

These generalizations become beliefs over a period of time. So beliefs are working generalizations.

Our beliefs have an impact on almost all aspects of our life. It combines our values, capabilities, and behaviors.

In a nutshell, We take information from the outside world through our five senses, this information then becomes an internal representation of external events. This internal representation depends on what we delete, distort, and generalize. 

Other filters in the NLP Communication model

These filters are inherently acquired by humans while processing information from the outside world.

Physical limitation

There is a limitation to a certain extent for eyes to see, ears to listen, and a sense that can feel. Any information outside the radar of this simply not processed.

Cultural Limitation

These are the limitations imposed by culture. This affects the way we process information. This amplifies our deletion, distortion, and generalization process.

Self-imposed restrictions

These are the limitations we impose on ourselves. It can result from our upbringing, environment we live in, and life experiences. This is developed over a period of time and is difficult to change. 

These are the filters as per the NLP communication model. There are some sources that include other aspects like memories, meta-program, values and behavior as filters. My observations are deletion, distortion and generalization covers almost everything.

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Importance of NLP communication model

I believe this NLP communication model helps me to understand people better.

Like it is discussed earlier, We all have different realities, our views are very subjective.

According to me, the importance of the NLP communication model

  • This allows me to understand other people’s point of view.
  • It helps me to understand people better
  • Has helped me in improving my communication with others
  • Expand my information taking capabilities
  • Be open to change my belief.

Learning the NLP communication model certainly helps to become a better communicator.

It changes the way you look at events, memory, experience, and behavior. It also generates more awareness of our own behavior.

How can you use the NLP communication model?

I have used the NLP communication model in therapy and in improving my relationships.

IF you understand the NLP communication model clearly, you can

  • You can change your communication pattern, as you will understand people better.
  • This will allow you to understand how other people are thinking?
  • You can reduce the number of conflicts you face regularly. As you may respect another person’s point of view better.
  • You can be more aware of how you process information? What you delete, distort, or generalize. This will help you gather more information effectively.
  • You can improve your relationship with the people around you.

NLP Communication model exercise

This exercise is simple and preferably done in a group.

Select an object common to all, like we took ball earlier in this post. You can take a chair, table, some food item, the key point is it must be known to every team member.

Now, Ask everyone to explain the object in detail, like how they see, listen, feel, taste or smell the object(it could be food also) note down the differences.

Try this exercise with many objects and share your views in the comment section.

Read my other posts

13 NLP presuppositions- the best guide you will need with NLP presuppositions exercise

best NLP presuppositions the Map is not the territory

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