The interpersonal vs. intrapersonal skills debate is widespread. Is it better to possess interpersonal communication skills or intrapersonal perception?
Developing your interpersonal vs. intrapersonal people skills will help you in the long run. They turn you into a more effective communicator, enhance your problem-solving abilities, and develop your empathy, introspection, and self-awareness.
So, which of the two sets is more advantageous?
You can learn the difference and find out how both skill sets help you in your everyday life. And once you understand the difference, you can see how they both show up in your reality.
Interpersonal vs. Intrapersonal Skills
Interpersonal communication refers to the interaction that takes place between two or more people. Intrapersonal communication, on the other hand, is communication and connection with yourself.
The word “inter” means “between.” The word “intra” means “within.” So that’s a good way to remember it.
Here are a few examples to help you distinguish between interpersonal vs. intrapersonal skills:
What Is Interpersonal Communication?
Someone with great interpersonal communication is adept at speaking with others. They’re able to get their message across efficiently and effectively. Additionally, they’re good listeners and active participants when both conveying and receiving a message.
Here are a few examples of interpersonal skills that could help you nail your next interview or team project:
- Active listening
- Collaborative mindset
- Clear verbal communication
- Positive attitude
- Receptive to feedback
Some people may have an innate sense of how to use these skills and be open to developing them. However, these are all abilities that can be trained and nurtured.
How to Improve Your Interpersonal Skills
Lisa Nichols, trainer of Mindvalley’s Speak and Inspire Quest, recommends a few ways to improve your communication skills.
1. Discover your best communication elements
To improve the way you interact with people in general, Lisa advises you to think about a few people you already have amazing communication:
- Why is it amazing?
- How do they make you feel?
- How do you make them feel?
The next step is to focus on the ones in your life with whom you have strained communication:
- Why is it strained?
- What’s blocking you from connecting with them authentically?
- Or what blockages do you think they have?
Once you figure out some elements that seem repetitive in your style of communication, you can connect more with your own voice and power. As Lisa highlights, once you connect more to your own way of communicating, you can build walls or you can build bridges.
2. Honor the person you’re speaking to
The great beauty of connecting through communication is that you get closer to another human being. Having this in mind, Lisa always suggests that you remember to honor and acknowledge the person you’re communicating with, even when you’re dealing with confrontation.
The truth is that connection will always make any kind of communication better, so the way you see the person you’re speaking with can add tremendous value.
For example, think about being in a situation at work where you need your colleague to have more patience with some tasks. Instead of getting frustrated with their inability to pay attention to details, you can start by acknowledging their willingness to always get things done on time.
3. Speak up from a genuine place
In other words, truth and clarity will always enhance efficient communication. As long as things are clear and said with kindness or assertiveness, depending on the situation, you will deliver your message with greater ease and authenticity.
Even if, rationally, you think that people don’t always want to hear the truth when it’s said in a safe space with the right intentions, it’s most often the winning card.
Take, for example, a situation where you want to refuse an invitation or communicate your needs. You can start the conversation by making a genuine request.
It may sound like this:
- “I need your support in…”
- “What would work better for me is…”
- “Can we make a new agreement to…?”
You may be surprised by the positive feedback you receive from others. That happens because the energy of truth speaks louder than words, and on a deeper level, people resonate with what feels genuine.
What Is Intrapersonal Communication?
Intrapersonal communication is communication that happens within an individual. It consists of self-talk, self-concept, introspection, and personal reflection. It can take several forms. Working through a problem in the privacy of your own mind is a form of intrapersonal communication.
Talking to yourself out loud when you’re on your own isn’t an indication of insanity. It’s just another form of intrapersonal communication. And quite healthy, one might add. Journaling and blogging are also forms of intrapersonal communication.
Engaging in intrapersonal communication helps you better understand your desires, passions, and motives. In fact, intrapersonal intelligence is one of Gardner’s nine types of intelligence.
People with strong intrapersonal intelligence tend to focus more than others on reflection, introspection, and self-analysis. They pay close attention to their thoughts, feelings, and emotions to better understand their motivations and goals.
How to Improve Intrapersonal Communication
This type of communication is connected to the relationship you have with yourself. What does your self-talk sound like? What do you tell yourself when you’re going through a difficult time?
Vishen and Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani, founders of Mindvalley, share a few tips on how to communicate with yourself more effectively by creating a deeper connection within.
1. Meet your dragons
Kristina often encourages you to meet your dragons when you’re building a strong relationship with yourself.
In other words, connecting to those parts of yourself that may have been repressed before due to past unfortunate experiences. Shedding light on these parts of your psyche is an act of self-love, which is essentially what it means to dive into your process of shadow work.
2. Expand your awareness
Creating moments of awareness within is key to improving your intrapersonal communication. Why? Because most people’s self-talk is automatic or unconscious. You may be used to talking badly about yourself because that’s what your subconscious mind has been programmed to do.
Kristina recommends taking a few moments every day to ask yourself:
- What am I feeling right now?
- What am I thinking in this present moment?
- How does my body feel now?
Sometimes the answer may be “nothing.” Or “I don’t know.” But with practice, you will discover that it gets easier to put a name to your feelings and thoughts.
3. Connect to deeper states of consciousness
Through The 6 Phase Meditation Process, Vishen explains how it’s possible to access altered states of consciousness. As a result, you nurture your creativity, sharpen your mind, and create a feeling of safety within yourself.
Once you master the art of accessing those different states of mind, you’ll see how your self-narrative changes. Additionally, you increase your ability to connect with yourself, which will reflect on how you carry yourself through life day by day.
What’s the Difference Between Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Conflict?
Interpersonal conflict exists between two or more people. Intrapersonal conflict is a private, personal conflict within.
Both forms of conflict can be tricky to handle. And the secret to navigating interpersonal vs. intrapersonal? It all circles back to those communication skills.
Improving both your interpersonal and intrapersonal communication skills can help you when problems arise with others and in your own life. Because the way you internally talk to yourself often tends to reflect the way you communicate with others.
Communication Goes Within and Without
It’s no surprise that what lies within you will reflect on the outside. And even if there are cases where one person is more introverted or extroverted, good communication with yourself goes hand in hand with how you communicate with others.
Bridging the gap between the two is a process rather than a destination, and you may need some guidance along the way.
This is where Mindvalley comes into play. With quests packed full of wisdom, you can explore and develop your interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. Try out:
- Speak and Inspire with Lisa Nichols. This program reveals new ways to speak up efficiently, be it in relationships or with big audiences.
- Live By Your Own Rules with Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani. You can learn more about how to connect to your most authentic self, set boundaries, and let go of perfectionism.
- The Silva Ultramind System with Vishen. Explore the ways to access altered states of consciousness that will enhance your creativity and train your mind to come up with extraordinary ideas and reflections.
By unlocking your free access, you can sample classes from these programs and many others. You can explore the first one or two teachings from the quests and see how their wisdom may apply to your life.
And the best part of it all is that you don’t have to do it all alone. At Mindvalley, you will connect to a like-minded community of people, where you can even train your interpersonal skills and share reflections on what helps you improve your intrapersonal communication.
Don’t be afraid to take the first step. Welcome in.