The word ‘intra’ means inside or within. In contrast to interpersonal communication, which implies communication with the other person, intrapersonal communication implies with the self. It refers to communication within the self, involving the process of thinking and feeling. Intrapersonal communication is a method of communication that helps every person to communicate with himself or herself. It helps in clarifying what is known as the self-concept. It is basically an inward- looking exercise.
Intrapersonal communication can also be understood as self-talk. Self- talk is recognized as the verbal side of thinking. There is indeed a positive side of self-talk. Self-talk, also recognized as self-dialogue or inner speech, is what you say to yourself during your waking hours.
It is necessary to create self-awareness about self-talk. Such awareness helps analyze self- concepts and overcome negative feelings. Self-talk, properly used, can help in overcoming emotional distress. Effective intrapersonal communication relates to the art of thinking, planning and interpreting ideas and messages in a positive manner.
Intrapersonal communication would also relate to the voice of conscience. This voice can play a significant role in the lives of individuals. It emphasizes the values and the ethical dimension in organizations.
It brings to the fore the rational or the logical side of the business transaction and helps exercise the much needed restraint in communication. Through conscious efforts, one learns to talk to oneself so as to bring out positive response.
One cannot really communicate effectively with the outside world, unless one masters the art of communicating effectively with oneself. In that sense, intrapersonal communication is a necessary precondition for effective interpersonal communication. Good communication depends upon positive outlook. Self-talk prepares the ground for this.
Those who talk to themselves are not necessarily crazy or mad. They are those who make effective use of yet another dimension of communication. Before making an important speech or attending a crucial meeting or responding to a provocative situation, you may take time off to talk to yourself, strengthen your resolve to exercise restraint and eschew anger or sarcasm.
To quote Abraham Lincoln, ‘When I am getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to say and two-thirds about him and what he is going to say.’
Intrapersonal communication, used effectively, provides the right balance, orientation and frame of judgement in communicating with the outside world.