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Interpersonal Communication

Language, Interpersonal Communication Skills and Results

It's a cliché to say that effective communication is important in building meaningful relationships. Effective communication has the capacity to enhance both personal and professional relationships. Likewise, ineffective communication can damage relationships, limit opportunities, close doors, hinders productivity and even negatively impact emotional well-being.

Communication Build Bridges Not Walls

It is imperative that communicators remain cognizant of that fact that there are barriers to communication. As we have studied the readings on messages and meta-messages, a number of significant connections began to take root. For example Burley-Allen (1995) succinctly notes, "We make judgments about people based on how we understand what we see and perceive. We evaluate an individual's competence and motivation through our semantic filters" (p. 65). In others words, there are correlations that exist between the spoken words as well as the perception and intention of the message to both talker and listener. Deeply rooted in this interpersonal communication process is the concept of self, which connects two key questions:

  •  How do others see us?
  • And how do we see ourselves?


Burley-Allen, M. (1995). Listening: The forgotten skill. (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Understanding Language beyond Interpersonal Communication Skills

L.E.A.P.S. believes that many of us are operating with what we call an "un-powerful" or "un-helpful" way of understanding what communication is all about. In our traditional way of understanding, language is viewed simply as a tool for communication.

That is, language is understood to be a tool by which two or more people can share information or – as long as they're speaking the same language – label things the same so they all know what's they're talking about.

Using Language and Communication for Transformational Collaboration

L.E.A.P.S. approach to coaching and training comes from a very different way of understanding language and communication. For us, language is understood to be fundamentally creative and profoundly generative. Our internal and external conversations do much more than describe an already-existing world, and this is so close we don't see it. It's not that we don't know that we speak and listen; it's that we don't notice that with our language, we are always and already shaping what we see – and influencing what we even see as possible!

Communication, the way L.E.A.P.S. sees it and shares it, is all about coordinating action with others. It's all about the ways in which we human beings do anything and everything collaboratively. Successful interpersonal communication skills are not so much about precise and accurate information being shared, it's more about effectively making and managing commitments that lead to some desired outcome, establishing shared understanding that's the basis for effective collaboration.


Every person in life has experienced some type of failure or disappointment. Emanating from such a situation are a number of other emotions; perhaps anger, fear or even shame. How one reacts to such situations is indicative of one's attributions. Feldman (2011) describes attributions as "The explanations for the reasons behind your behavior" (p. 340). Philosophically, L.E.A.P.S. contends that attribution is a two- way street and that one's attribution can impact future goals, aspirations, and performances; thereby fostering varying perceptions about the way things mesh in the world (Feldman, 2011).

Attribution also affects one's cognitive processes. In the context of perceiving and listening, Stewart (2012) describes attribution as, "A second of process perception. When people form attributions, they devise theories or explanations about other people's behavior that provide a way of making sense out of whatever is occurring" (p. 171). Attributions are but one of the many communication nuances the L.E.A.P.S. integrates into achieving effective interpersonal communication.


Feldman, R. S. (2011). Developing across the life span. (6th ed.). New Jersey: Pearson.

Stewart, J. (2012). Bridges not walls: A book about interpersonal communication. (11th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.