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The Ultimate Guide to Intrapersonal Communication (2022) - HRDQ

The Ultimate Guide to Intrapersonal Communication (2022)

If you research the essential skills you need for career success, you'll likely find interpersonal communication skills right at the top of the list. After all, just about any business endeavor can fall apart at the seams without effective communication.

However, an equally if not more important type of communication is intrapersonal communication. As opposed to the skills associated with communicating with others, intrapersonal communication skills refer to your abilities to communicate with yourself.

If you want to be successful in life and the workplace, developing intrapersonal skills is a necessity. Moreover, one could argue that they are even more important than interpersonal skills since your ability to communicate with yourself effectively can also boost your skills in communicating with others.

What is intrapersonal communication, exactly, and how can you develop it?

What Is Intrapersonal Communication?

While interpersonal communication is the process of exchanging information and feelings between people, intrapersonal communication is communicating with yourself.

Whether we realize it or not, we constantly communicate with ourselves. This doesn't have to mean talking to yourself (though it certainly could.) Instead, we are in constant dialogue with ourselves through self-talk, memory, recall, visualization, and imagination.

Communicating With Self

You might also hear intrapersonal communication referred to as internal discourse, inner speech, self-talk, internal monologue, or autocommunication. Directly and intimately tied to your sense of self, your inner voice and internal communication are particularly important for your self-image, problem-solving, self-reflection, and ability to plan. It's also an essential part of recognizing and understanding your emotions.

What Are the Advantages of Developing Intrapersonal Communication Skills?

When you have developed intrapersonal communication skills, there are a lot of benefits that you will reap over time.

First of all, it can help you better understand yourself and your emotions. When you are self-aware of your emotional state, you can make decisions that support your overall well-being.

As an example, let's say that you have a highly stressful job. Without good intrapersonal communication skills, you might completely miss the signs of impending burnout. You might power through even though all signs of imminent burnout are present, leaving you to get so sick, stressed, or fatigued that you must step away and recover for a prolonged time.

On the other hand, with good intrapersonal communication skills, you will see that your internal dialogue is getting increasingly frazzled. You'll know yourself well enough to spot the signs of burnout right away. Therefore, you'll be able to take steps like taking a long weekend or engaging in self-care activities to recover in a much more affordable and less drastic way.

Developing Intrapersonal Communication Skills

Improving your intrapersonal skills also means having more empathy and understanding for other people. When you are more in touch with yourself, it makes you better able to put yourself in someone else's shoes.

When you are well-versed in the art of communicating with yourself, it can also make you better at analyzing information and looking at problems from every possible angle. 

Your decision-making will also benefit from improved intrapersonal skills. Over time, you can build a personal system you use to make decisions that incorporates the consequences of your different options.

A deeper dive into emotional intelligence and its advantages in the workplace: Emotional Intelligence Skills Assessment 

What Are Intrapersonal Skills?

Intrapersonal skills can be understood as the skills one has to deal with themselves effectively. The skills you have to deal well with other people are referred to as interpersonal skills.

Thinking To Oneself

Some essential intrapersonal skills include:

  • Self-confidence
  • Emotional awareness
  • Self-assessment
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-control
  • Openness to new ideas
  • Time management
  • The ability to overcome distractions
  • Resilience
  • Persistence

While a person might be naturally more intrapersonally intelligent than the next guy, that doesn't mean that these skills can't be learned. Working to improve intrapersonal communication is an essential step you can take to boost your intrapersonal skills and intelligence.

Are you looking to build time management skills to boost your intrapersonal skills? Check out this article about the productivity-boosting effects of time management activities.

What Is Intrapersonal Intelligence?

The American developmental psychologist Howard Gardner is best known for his theory of multiple intelligences. This theory put forward the idea that people have several different ways to process information that are relatively separate from one another. The eight types of intelligence outlined by Gardner are:

  • Musical-rhythmic intelligence
  • Visual-spatial intelligence
  • Verbal-linguistic intelligence
  • Logical-mathematical intelligence
  • Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence
  • Interpersonal intelligence
  • Intrapersonal intelligence
  • Naturalistic intelligence

While there is a lot of depth to explore in each of these types of intelligence, we're going to focus specifically on intrapersonal intelligence in this post. While people with interpersonal intelligence are very skilled at dealing with other people, people with high levels of intrapersonal intelligence are well-equipped to understand and evaluate their own motivations, emotions, feelings, thoughts, and relationships with others. Of course, all of these types of intelligence are not mutually exclusive, meaning that someone could easily be intelligent both inter and intrapersonally.

Practicing Intrapersonal Intelligence

An intrapersonally intelligent individual has a highly developed sense of themselves and is very capable of organizing that self-perception. That means that they are more equipped to deal effectively with challenges they face in life.

As a part of building intrapersonal skills, you might want to analyze your locus of control. This article takes a deep dive into how your internal locus of control can positively impact your business.

Why Is Intrapersonal Communication and Intelligence Important?

Being able to communicate with yourself is an essential part of self-regulation. When you are well-equipped with self-regulation, you'll likely have an easier time dealing with challenges, managing your emotions and behavior, and working towards your goals even when you're met with constant distractions.

Intrapersonally Communicating

When you practice building interpersonal skills, you might find that a fairly immediate positive feedback cycle is created. For instance, you can see the benefits of practicing active listening right away.

With intrapersonal skills, you might not notice that your interpersonal interactions are immediately impacted or changed. However, developing intrapersonal skills will make you more effective at dealing with other people over time.

Learn more about your personal communication style: What's My Communication Style

How Can You Improve Your Intrapersonal Communication?

Whether we realize it or not, we all have an internal dialogue running within ourselves. Our self-esteem and self-perception are both deeply impacted by our internal communications. If you work to improve your intrapersonal communication skills, you can find that your confidence and quality of life can improve.

One of the first steps towards improving intrapersonal communication is accepting and respecting that your self-communication is vital to your overall well-being. Work on listening to your internal dialogue and how you talk to yourself.

You'll want to ask an essential question: am I communicating with myself positively or negatively most of the time?

If you are constantly engaging in negative self-talk, it can be incredibly draining to your motivation and energy. While we all have an inner critic, negative self-talk can become the dominant way that you communicate with yourself. 

Improving Intrapersonal Communication

That can lead to:

  • Feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Relationship challenges
  • Perfectionism
  • Limited thinking

Ultimately, negative self-talk can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you are constantly talking down to yourself, it can keep you from pursuing and achieving your goals.

On the other hand, positive internal dialogues can help to elevate your self-perception and improve your self-esteem.

There are a lot of different techniques you can use to create healthier intrapersonal communication, including visualization techniques, getting in the habit of monitoring your thoughts regularly, and working to shift your perspective. You can also utilize affirmations, journaling, meditation, and prayer. At first, though, the most important step is realizing that you have a habit of communicating with yourself negatively.

If you work towards improving your intrapersonal communication, you'll likely find that you feel calmer and less likely to sweat the small stuff. As you might imagine, this can be incredibly useful in your day-to-day life and career.

How to handle conflict in the workplace: Conflict Strategies Inventory

How Can You Improve Intrapersonal Skills?

There are many different ways you can work to improve your intrapersonal skills. Doing so will benefit you both in your personal life and your career.

Create Goals

Writing Down Goals

As a part of building intrapersonal skills, creating goals and working to achieve them is a powerful tool. Through recording and being deliberate about goal-making, you can help to improve your self-awareness and other intrapersonal skills. Consider writing down small, realistic goals with a deadline that you'd like to meet.

Practice Positive Self-Talk

Practicing Positive Self Talk

As we mentioned above, positive self-talk is essential for having a healthy relationship with yourself. Therefore, work to be aware of when you are talking to yourself negatively, and purposefully practice giving yourself positive feedback and praise for your accomplishments and strengths.


Writing In Journal

Writing can be a great way to connect with yourself on a deeper level and help you manage anxiety, reduce stress, and cope with your emotions. Consider keeping a journal and incorporating writing into your morning or evening routine. While it can be hard at first, work to remove any expectations around your writing and use it as a way to be honest about how you're feeling.

Make Time to Self-Reflect

Woman Self Reflecting

In our busy world, it's easy to race through life without ever taking any time to self-reflect. Schedule some time alone and reflect on your day, month, year, or life. Hiking in a natural environment can be a great setting for self-reflection.


Practicing Meditation

There are many benefits to starting a meditation practice, including improving intrapersonal skills. This can help you get in touch with your feelings and recognize if you're trapped in cycles of self-judgment or negative thought.

Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses

We all have natural talents and weak points. By working to identify your strengths and weaknesses, you can improve your intrapersonal skills and set goals that are best suited to your unique being.

Take Risks

Taking Small Risk

It's easy to stay in our comfort zones our entire lives, but doing so comes at the expense of personal growth. Taking small risks can help you challenge yourself and build new intrapersonal skills.

How Can You Use Intrapersonal Communication and Skills in the Workplace?

While job postings often discuss the need for developed interpersonal skills, it's important not to overlook how essential intrapersonal skills can be to a successful career. Even though most of our focus might be on how to relate to other people in the workplace, our interpersonal skills are ultimately unsustainable when we don't have the tools we need for effective intrapersonal communication.

For one, improving your intrapersonal communication will allow you to succeed in your efforts toward self-development. Intrapersonally skilled people are more likely to be motivated to engage in professional development. It can also make them more likely to succeed in management positions or even in entrepreneurship.

Secondly, intrapersonal communication skills can also make you more adaptable and flexible in the workplace. There will inevitably be unexpected occurrences in any line of work, no matter how stable your industry or career is. When you are well-equipped intrapersonally, you are much more able to pivot or solve problems as the need arises.

Communication in the Workplace

Thirdly, intrapersonal skills allow you to have self-awareness in your day-to-day activities. Not only does self-awareness help you to focus and concentrate on your work tasks, but it also lets you recognize when it's time to step away and take a break. With intrapersonal skills, you are well-tuned to feedback from events, such as feeling stressed by missing a deadline. Being aware in this way, can help you plan for the future and avoid making mistakes you've made in the past.

Having well-developed intrapersonal skills can also make you more confident. As you likely know, confidence can be a potent tool in the workplace. It can give you the strength and certainty to propose new ideas, apply for (and receive) a promotion, and otherwise succeed in your career.

Effective Communication Is Essential for Success in the Workplace

Both intrapersonal and interpersonal communication are necessary skills to have in the workplace. When you are more in touch with yourself and are well-equipped to communicate with yourself, it can set you up to be much more successful in your career.

Effective Workplace Communication

As you work on building your intrapersonal communication skills, you'll become more aware of how you come across to others. If you're looking for a helpful tool to learn more about how others see you, check out our Interpersonal Influence Inventory.

Do you have any questions about intrapersonal communication, what good intrapersonal communication skills can do for you, or anything similar? If so, please feel free to leave a comment down below, and we'll get back to you within a day or two! We make it a point to reply to every comment or question we receive, and we'd be more than happy to assist you however we possibly can!

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About our author

Bradford R. Glaser

Brad is President and CEO of HRDQ, a publisher of soft-skills learning solutions, and HRDQ-U, an online community for learning professionals hosting webinars, workshops, and podcasts. His 35+ years of experience in adult learning and development have fostered his passion for improving the performance of organizations, teams, and individuals.