Difference Between Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Communication

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The words interpersonal and intrapersonal are mostly used interchangeably by people. The main difference between these communications is Interpersonal deals with the communication used by a person to communicate effectively with others (public speaking), while Intrapersonal refers to communicating with own inner thoughts internally.

Every individual has their own ideas, feelings, experiences, and understandings. Communication is the only process through which a person expresses these events to the other person. In order to develop a good bond, enhance social skills, and soft skills a well-groomed communication is required. Every attribute to enhance communication skills will lift up the standards in work life.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.PLATO

Now let’s try to understand the basic difference between Interpersonal and Intrapersonal communication.

Difference Between Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Communication

parametersInterpersonal CommunicationIntraperosnal Communication
ObjectiveExchange of information, ideas and experiences between two or more persons.To communicate with oneself, i.e., the communication that occurs in our mind.
OccurrenceOccurs during meetings and daily conversations with peers.Occurs during thinking and analyzing situations.
MediaIt requires verbal and non-verbal media to express ideas.A person’s internal senses are the only media, involved.
Persons involvedTwo or moreOne
FlowInformation flows from one person to another.Information never goes beyond the mind of a person.
TypesClassified into four main forms of communication: Verbal, non-verbal, listening & writing.No classification
Concerned withExchange of information, ideas, and experiences.Thinking & Analysis
VisibilityIt is visible in nature.It is not visible in nature.

What is Interpersonal Communication

The communication between two or more persons to exchange information, ideas, and experiences is known as Interpersonal communication. There are various media involved to express one’s ideas, but most basic are verbal and non-verbal communication. Interpersonal communication skills are seen in group discussions, dialog, debates, public speaking, and daily life conversations.

In any organization or business domain, the vital role is played by the effectiveness of quality information exchanged among the working crew. Three major important steps involved to attain this effectiveness are

  1. Initiating
  2. Attending
  3. Responding

A person initiates the conversation and the rest of them attend to him, understand carefully, and ultimately some of them respond to the ideas put forward. This is the basic procedure of interpersonal communication.

There are various factors that highly influence interpersonal communication. The most important one of them is the experience as a communicator, which influences the ability to communicate effectively. If anyone lacks confidence or experience, they may hesitate to get involved in the conversation and may not be able to put forward the ideas.

A person to excel in interpersonal communication, one should be very much focused on some of the elements, such as proper attitude, good outlook, well-groomed language, appropriate usage of non-verbal communication (gestures, symbols), active listening, asking questions, consistency, proper intonation, eye contact, and posture.

What is Intrapersonal Communication

The basic function of a person is communicating with self that involves thinking, analyzing, interpreting, assessing, contemplating, feeling, etc., is termed as intrapersonal communication. It deals immensely with the emotions of a person which is never known to the people who are sitting along with him. This is quite different from interpersonal communication, as it’s completely invisible.

Intrapersonal communication basically takes place in mind as the conversation of a person is with self. This is commonly known as self-talk as here both the sender and receiver of a message are the same person. Subconsciously many ideas and thoughts are passing through the mind, an attempt to understand them is also a vital aspect of intrapersonal communication.

Many psychological surveys and outputs have concluded that a very important and strong bond exists between interpersonal and intrapersonal communication. Very good intrapersonal communication makes a person to be highly effective in interpersonal communication. This impact makes intrapersonal communication a vital element of all types of communication.

There are various intrapersonal skills that influence intrapersonal communication. Some skills that influence intrapersonal communication are

  1. Ability to understand
  2. Manage the flow of thoughts
  3. Being aware of own thought process
  4. Self-esteem
  5. Ability to analyze the situation
  6. Understanding and managing emotions
  7. Self-discipline
  8. Self-confidence
  9. Being able to stop overthinking
  10. Self-motivation
  11. Patience

The best way to achieve good intrapersonal communication is by spending a good amount of time with yourself. Every individual should find some free time and try to listen to inner thoughts. The unique way of getting this time is to relax and recharge at regular intervals. People involve in various activities to relax, such as; reading books, going for an evening walk, watching movies, exploring art and culture.

Similarities Between Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Communication

Similarities between interpersonal and intrapersonal communication are listed below,

  • Both are highly important for the self-growth of an individual.

  • Both of the communications are influencing in nature.

  • Interpersonal and intrapersonal communications impact each other indirectly.

  • Both of the communications occur regularly in daily life.

  • Both require a certain set of skills to improve and groom in order to enhance.

Key Differences Between Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Communication

The key differences between interpersonal and intrapersonal communication are listed below,

  1. Interpersonal communication takes place with people around while intrapersonal communication is self-talk.

  2. Intrapersonal occurs continuously as its related thoughts and feelings, the human tendency of mind never stops thinking and analyzing but interpersonal occurs regularly as per requirement.

  3. Only personal senses are involved in intrapersonal but in interpersonal, a certain medium and proper method are required to pass the information.

  4. Good communication skills are required to be outstanding at interpersonal communication while a better understanding of thoughts is important in intrapersonal.

  5. Intrapersonal communication builds a person internally strong and interpersonal communication provides a chance to reflect confidence.


Communication is a vital aspect of every organization and every individual person. It can make a person or organization an outstanding performer and it can similarly break a person or organization to the unexpected critical level. Interpersonal and Intrapersonal communications are the building blocks of the effective communication that takes place at every organization or business domain. So maintaining a well balanced and properly assessed mode of communication is highly required.

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