What is Intrapersonal Communication: Everything You Need to Know

Workforce Management

Intrapersonal communication refers to the internal dialogue or “self-talk” that guides your behaviors and core beliefs. Intrapersonal communication is a highly influential tool that aids in self-awareness and developing your true self.

Positive self-talk results in improved communication with others (interpersonal communication) and overall elevated morale. Here, we will go over everything you need to know about intrapersonal communication, including the history of self-talk and the various forms of intrapersonal communication.

We will consider how self-talk impacts your daily dealings and how you can use it to your advantage to reach your personal and professional goals.

What is Intrapersonal Communication

Also referred to as self-talk, intrapersonal communication is essentially the communication you have with yourself in your head.

As opposed to the internal stimuli and external world that sets other forms of communication in motion, intrapersonal communication comes from within. For instance, have you ever found yourself conversing with yourself about what you want to have for lunch? This communication process is triggered by internal stimuli that let you know you are hungry, and you respond by participating in intrapersonal communication.

Intrapersonal communication occurs similarly when you start reflecting back on an event you witnessed. While other forms of communication require an observer, someone that perceives the communication process, intrapersonal communication does not, as it occurs in our minds.

What is Intrapersonal Communication: Everything You Need to Know intrapersonal communication

Intrapersonal Communication History

The “self” concept is relatively new, and the term “intrapersonal communication” was coined by Carl Rogers in the 60s. This psychologist used the term “intrapersonal communication” to describe the means of self-expression people use to mediate their thoughts via inner speech.

Rogers states that we use intrapersonal communication to explore our feelings, thoughts, and attitudes toward particular situations. Intrapersonal communication has not received nearly as much attention as interpersonal communication, so many people separate this form of communication from the general group.

The primary distinction that sets intrapersonal communication apart from other forms is that it does not intend to be perceived by another person. With any other form of communication, one person communicates, and the other perceives the message.

What is Intrapersonal Communication: Everything You Need to Know intrapersonal communication

Types of Intrapersonal Communication (Self-Talk)

Intrapersonal communication is our way of processing things within ourselves. It is a conversation in your mind between you and your inner self. The following three aspects form the fundamental basis of intrapersonal conversations or communication:


The perception aspect of your thoughts defines who you are to a great extent. How you see yourself and the people around you are the two main properties of perception.

Everyone makes a judgment of the people around them based on a current or previous interaction. Everyone also judges themselves and their actions to a certain extent. That said, positive self-talk can be achieved by being aware and critical of our own biases so as not to judge others or ourselves unfairly.

Although it is perfectly normal for random thoughts to cross your mind, controlling your internal vocalization to the extent that negative thoughts or unfair judgments don’t gain any real power is essential for mastering the “self” concept.


You must closely examine your intrapersonal communication to comprehend how you view the relationship between yourself and those around you. Self-awareness and self-reflection go hand in hand in determining your values, ideas, and core beliefs. Your values are based on your beliefs and determine your attitude toward situations and people.


Expectations are an essential element of intrapersonal communication. It is crucial that you know what people expect from you and what you expect from yourself.

For instance, some individuals may thrive in a dynamic environment where fast-paced results are expected of them, whereas others may look out for stable work environments with consistency being key.

Good intrapersonal skills go a long way in helping you navigate your priorities and process your feelings and attitudes in the workplace. Continuously assessing your expectations via intrapersonal communication will guide you to making better decisions as you have processed and evaluated all the relevant factors of a situation.

The key benefit of the expectation aspect of intrapersonal communication is that it helps you understand yourself better, resulting in a better understanding of those around you.

What is Intrapersonal Communication: Everything You Need to Know intrapersonal communication

The Difference Between Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Communication

Intrapersonal communication takes place when you think, feel, and observe internally. As most people are used to speaking out loud, the intrapersonal communication process may not come naturally to everybody. 

It is a strange concept to listen internally instead of talking out loud at first, but mastering intrapersonal communication is a very liberating activity. It enables you to be more self-aware before acting on impulses because you have taken the time to perform introspection in the absence of external input.

Communications expert Leonard Shedletsky analyzed the process of intrapersonal communication and came up with eight basic components that describe the entire communication process, namely the message, receiver, source, feedback, channel, context, environment, and interference. Although these components apply to both intrapersonal and interpersonal communication, all this interaction occurs in the individual’s mind with intrapersonal communication.

What is Intrapersonal Communication: Everything You Need to Know intrapersonal communication

Here are the key differences between intrapersonal and interpersonal communication:

Who is Involved

Intrapersonal communication takes place within a person’s mind and involves thoughts, ideas, and feelings. In contrast, interpersonal communication takes place between two or more people. Interpersonal communication can occur in person or via technological means, such as a phone call or email.


The motivation behind intrapersonal and interpersonal communication differ widely. The purpose of interpersonal communication is to inform a person or a group about your ideas, stories, or information.

Contrarily, intrapersonal communication aims to reflect on an occurrence, a thought, or a feeling. It is not meant to be shared with anyone besides yourself. You can use your intrapersonal communication skills to plan for the future, set goals, and stay in tune with your emotions.

Feedback and Media

The feedback on interpersonal communication can take a verbal or a non-verbal form. Examples of non-verbal feedback in interpersonal communication include a shrug or a nod. Verbal feedback takes the form of words. It is a reply that usually takes the form of a brief statement, such as, “I understand.”

On the other hand, intrapersonal communication doesn’t entail any true form of feedback as it only involves your own perspective.

What is Intrapersonal Communication: Everything You Need to Know intrapersonal communication

Advantages of Intrapersonal Communication

There are countless benefits to developing your intrapersonal communication skills. Being an intrapersonal person can open your mind to many opportunities you wouldn’t have been able to pursue without self-reflection.

Below are some primary advantages of intrapersonal communication:

  • Intrapersonal communication allows you to understand yourself, your emotions, and your behaviors better. Getting a firm grasp on your emotional state will facilitate internal conflict resolution to a large extent so you can make better decisions without being limited by your biases.
  • Intrapersonal communication gives you better insight into the states of mind of others and why they react the way they do. Intrapersonal communication involves putting yourself in someone else’s shoes to understand them better.
  • Analyzing problems becomes easier when you practice intrapersonal communication. If you take the time to consider all aspects of a particular challenge, your problem-solving abilities will improve dramatically.
  • The fact that you will have a higher capacity to reflect on matters before acting means your problem-solving skills will be much better as a result of intrapersonal communication.

Risks of Negative Self-talk:

  • Consistent high stress levels
  • Deteriorating mental health
  • Poor quality of life
  • Low self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Poor interpersonal skill development
  • Overall self-conscious attitude

Most people don’t acknowledge the significance of intrapersonal communication, and as a result, they don’t realize that their thought may be limiting their potential dramatically.

The internal monologue we indulge in throughout the day has an immense impact on our interpersonal interactions. All the interaction you have with those around you are largely guided by your internal discourse and influence every aspect of your professional and personal life.

It is thus evident that negative thoughts translate into negative behaviors, which leads to restrictions in your professional growth. This aspect of human communication is, therefore, an integral tool to exceed in the external world by altering a person’s perspective in favor of desirable results.

What is Intrapersonal Communication: Everything You Need to Know intrapersonal communication

3 Forms of Intrapersonal Communication

Three primary categories describe the forms in which intrapersonal communication can occur:


Everything from daydreaming to analyzing a complex problem in your head falls under the thinking category of intrapersonal communication. Any unspoken words you go over in your mind are considered intrapersonal communication and may involve thoughts regarding methods to optimize your organization’s success or even something as mundane as how you reacted to a statement the day before.

Everyone has thoughts throughout the day, but not everyone realizes that those thoughts are a form of self-reflection that carry significant power.


If you have a habit of talking aloud to yourself, you are effectively practicing intrapersonal communication. Vocalizing a thought is a valuable tool people use to organize their thoughts and feelings. Although you are the only recipient of your words, this form of self-talk also develops the interpersonal skill of methodically using your words and tone to convey the message you wish to bring across to another person.

Written Form

This form of intrapersonal communication includes any form of writing that reflects your internal thought or feelings. Many people find it helpful to write down ideas or concepts to get a better grasp on them.

This form of self-communication includes journals, diaries, notes, shopping lists, reminders, and many other forms of writing.

What is Intrapersonal Communication: Everything You Need to Know intrapersonal communication

Tips For Performing Productive Intrapersonal Communication

  • Create and adhere to a schedule – Organizing your thoughts into a confined list or schedule can greatly facilitate productivity and help you use your self-talk in a practical way.
  • Meditate – Your thought patterns may become overwhelming at times. To control your self-talk and organize your mind, it may be helpful to take a few minutes every day to clear your mind and meditate on something simple, allowing your brain and body to relax instead of obsessing over a recurring thought.
  • Actively practice positive self-talk – Many people find it difficult to occupy their minds with positive thoughts. It is natural for negative or problematic thoughts to dominate our minds at times, but it is important to be conscious of the fact that these thoughts could significantly impact our moods and behaviors. Therefore, practice filling your head with positivity now and again to revive a happy mood and program yourself to look on the bright side.
  • Keep your in mind – continuously revisiting your objectives in your professional and personal life is an incredibly valuable tool to achieve your goals. Thinking about your goals puts things in perspective and helps us determine the steps that need to be taken to reach them.