What is Intrapersonal Communication?
Though this term sounds a bit complicated, nothing is perplexing about it. Intrapersonal communication is an integral part of human nature, and there wouldn’t be a day when you don’t use it. As simple as that, intrapersonal communication is the communication you have in your mind, within yourself. It can be happening either on a conscious or a subconscious level, being the most basic and invisible among all the types of communication.
Though the importance of it can’t be denied (and further we will find out why), it is still the least studied area of communication. So, let us take a closer look at the history of its emergence and development.
Development of the Notion
Actually, it is quite logical that scientists haven’t really studied intrapersonal communication yet – they are just not sure how to understand it! Although the term appeared in the 1980s, it remains a problematic area for research even now.
Linda Lederman was the first to define “intrapersonal relationships” in 1996. She shed light on the concept, basing it on the literature about interpersonal communication. According to Linda, everything that we know about relationships with one another can be applied to relationships with ourselves.
But it all began with a William James’ work of 1890, where he mentions the so-called “multiple selves”, which affect our contact with people. Since then, this phenomenon was examined by Charles Cooley, Eric Berne, George Herbert Mead, Erving Goffman, Jerom Manis, Bernard Meltzer, and many others. But intrapersonal communication continues to be a rich field for exploration because it influences a lot of aspects of our lives in ways that are not particularly clear.
Why Does Intrapersonal Communication Matter?
So often we find that how we communicate with ourselves is how we communicate with each other. What gets in the way of us being honest and transparent with our friends, families, boyfriends, and girlfriends, one of the limiting factors is how connected we are with ourselves. If we don’t even know what’s going on inside us, how can we possibly be sincere and share our true thoughts?
The same is for the listening side of things. If we want to be attentive to our interlocutor, we need to concentrate on his or her feelings, not on ours.
Being able to sort everything out in your mind is significant for the following reasons as well:
- It will help you get a better understanding of yourself and become more authentically aware of your experience. There’s nothing like knowing exactly who you are. We often struggle to find words when we are asked about ourselves. Taking a moment to reflect upon yourself connects us with our inner world, and, therefore, with people. But be careful: an internal dialogue can evoke a rather wide range of emotions: from happiness and confidence to uncertainty and confusion.
- You will become more independent. Relying on others when you are feeling down doesn’t usually work. People might be unavailable when you need them. By intrapersonal communication, you learn how to be emotionally self-sufficient and take the burden of worry off your shoulders.
- You will feel free to manifest yourself. Isn’t it great not to care what anyone else thinks of you and just enjoy your life? It’s tough to do that when you’re surrounded by people, though. The only place you can truly achieve this freedom is within your mind.
- It will strengthen your appreciation for the little things. This may sound cliché, but it’s true. Whether it’s stopping to marvel at the beauty of the world around you while a soft wind breezes through your hair, coming up with new ideas and imagining your future, or just going on a walk and treating yourself to ice cream while thinking how good your life is – the little things will ultimately bring you joy.
- It will be easier for you to recognize your weaknesses and, as a result, realize how to turn them into your powers!
- People who are in a good relationship with themselves have a better concentration – it is easier for them to work towards their goals, even if there are obstacles and distractions (and they will always be) on the way!
Don’t expect that all these benefits will come to you after 10 minutes of developing your intrapersonal communication skills. By the way, let’s find out more about them and methods of their improvement!
What are Intrapersonal Communication Skills
The typical problem of today’s people is familiarity with many things and ignoring oneself. Some believe that technical skills are more important than intrapersonal ones. Some believe that intrapersonal skills are given to us by birth and cannot be developed. But the thing is, we should master them to build a strong personality and fulfill all the dreams. They represent our behavior and way of life.
Let’s enumerate some intrapersonal skills so that you could start focusing on boosting them:
- knowing self;
- goal setting;
- pro activeness;
- analytical skills;
- intelligence quotient (the capacity of receiving and retaining maximum information);
- emotional quotient (the capacity to channelize emotions properly);
- spiritual quotient (the tendency of differentiating good and bad values in the light of morality);
- positive thinking;
- stress and anger management;
- creativity, etc.
How to Improve Your Intrapersonal Communication Skills
As you see, there are lots of them! And it may seem hard to become better in all of them. But the main point is, that all intrapersonal communication skills are about self-awareness. Start with small actions, which may seem insignificant at first sight – and in a few months, you will see how profoundly you have changed! Here are some ideas as to what you can do:
- Try mindfulness and meditation. It reduces stress, controls anxiety, improves sleep, and attention. Take five minutes out of every single day just to sit and relax – it will help you with calmness.
- Take your time out for reflection. While meditation is generally about concentration on nothing, reflection is about focusing on your past situations or experiences. It provides insight into our own thoughts.
- Doubt your values – you may reveal some unexpected things about yourself! This article on ethical subjectivism and emotivism might come in handy.
- Practice compassion, both on you and others. Stop beating yourself up and the people around you as well. Self-criticism moves you away from constructive relationships and can foster depression.
- Observe the world around you by following the media – but don’t get too carried away!
- Make a schedule and stick to it. This is going to build up your self-discipline, reduce procrastination, allow prioritization, and even save you some money!
- Keep a diary or a journal. Document your daily events and feelings. Use self-introspection to rationalize them.
- Think about the skills you have at work and then see if you can apply them to a non-work situation. Perhaps you can help desk analysts and if you are great at it, why don’t you volunteer for a charity or CS line? That will give you a new experience outside your working environment and some confidence as well.
- Participate in all kinds of curricular and extracurricular activities.
- Plan your personal goals. Ask yourself: “What do I want to achieve except for my working plans?” It can be any milestone related to skill acquisition, character building, learning something you haven’t known before. For example: grow your network, exercise more, plant a garden, read once a day, watch an educational movie, etc.
- Don’t be afraid to take risks! Though it might be a bit scary, just imagine how many opportunities will open for you!
Types of Intrapersonal Communication with Examples
In the table below we will show you the advantages of each type, as well as give you some intrapersonal communication examples:
|Internal discourse||Solo vocal communication||Solo written communication|
|involves concentrating and analyzing||involves speaking aloud to yourself, that can be done to clarify thinking, to rehearse a message intended for others, or simply to let off steam||involves writing not intended for others|
|examples: daydreaming, nocturnal dreaming, prayer, contemplation, meditation||examples: giving yourself instructions, talking in the mirror, commenting on movies or football matches when you are alone||example: an entry in your personal diary, shopping list, note-taking, reminders|
Interpersonal vs Intrapersonal Communication
These two terms can be easily confused because they look almost identical. But they are, in fact, two absolutely opposite concepts!
While intrapersonal communication occurs when we communicate with ourselves, as we already know, interpersonal communication, is all about interacting with others and understanding their emotions. The root of these words gives us a clue: “intra” – inside a person, “inter” – between people.
The reasons for using these types are also different: to tell a story, find out some information, and share some ideas or experience, we use interpersonal communication, whereas intrapersonal one is for making goals and plans, reflecting, visualizing the future, and getting closer with your own self.
We cannot say which is more essential: you need both to succeed. Though it is perfectly normal to be stronger in one and weaker in another, you should do your best working in both intrapersonal and interpersonal directions.
Ways of Building Your Interpersonal Communication Skills
Interpersonal skills, also known as people skills or soft skills, are how well you communicate and relate to others. Someone with exceptional interpersonal skills might be said to have high PQ or interpersonal intelligence, and these people can:
- be able to speak so people listen;
- code body language;
- negotiate easily;
- be highly charismatic;
- have high empathy;
- be socially assertive;
- read facial expressions;
- be more likable, etc.
You have received some pieces of advice on how to advance in communication with yourself – now it is time to get more knowledgeable about establishing good relationships with others!
The first thing you need to do is to divide interpersonal skills into three groups: verbal communication, nonverbal communication, and relationship management.
The first and most important group is how we communicate with our words from negotiations and interviews to chatting with our friends. There are two aspects of verbal communication: knowing what to say and knowing how to say it. People with high interpersonal intelligence are verbally talented: they can calm someone down, answer a difficult interview question, or ask for a raise with ease and confidence.
The second group is nonverbal communication. Body language, facial expression, voice tone are essential interpersonal skills.
The last group of interpersonal skills is relationship management. Relationships are a two-way street: you must be able to set up boundaries, communicate your needs, and be socially assertive and at the same time you also must be empathetic.
Now pick up one of these groups which are the most in need of help. Concentrate on it and think of small steps that will make you better.
Watch the video down below for an alternative view on interpersonal communication:
So, the only conclusion that can be drawn, is that you need to master both interpersonal and intrapersonal communication to be successful, productive, and self-fulfilled. Do not try to improve everything at once. Take small actions and be sure – they will lead you to a stunning result.
What are intrapersonal skills?
Intrapersonal skills are those skills and communications that occur within a person’s own mind. They form the foundation on which you build your relationships with others.
What are the interpersonal skills?
Interpersonal skills refer to interactions with other people or personalities.
What is intrapersonal communication?
Intrapersonal communication is the communication you have with yourself.
What is the difference between intrapersonal and interpersonal communication?
When you engage in intrapersonal communication, you communicate with yourself, whereas in interpersonal communication you communicate with other individuals.
Why is intrapersonal communication important?
There is tremendous power in knowing self. Without it, you will find it difficult to be successful and productive. Well-developed intrapersonal communication can make our life easier, stop deception, realize our role in society, help us control our feelings, and take better decisions.