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Interpersonal & Intrapersonal Barrier to Communication

Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Author: Business Consultants, Inc.

Interpersonal & Intrapersonal Barrier to Communication

When everyone's trying to work together, finding a common platform can be a challenge. Diversified workplace is not only a natural feature, it became a recommended characteristic of the modern workplace, and a part of any organization’s success is its ability to include diversified talents within it who can enhance its environment and enrich its culture.

Different types of barriers, other than the language and culture-based barriers, can be challenging within the workplace.

Intrapersonal Barriers

Interpersonal barriers are what ultimately keep us from reaching out to each other and opening ourselves up, not just to be heard, but also to hear others.

Although the Human evolution took a giant step forward with the advent of language, still there’s nothing more fundamental to human interactions as interpersonal communications.

Psychologist and organizational consultant William Schutz estimated that 80 percent of all problems in organizations resulted from people not being open and telling each other the truth directly. In his famous theory, The Human element, he developed a model for levels of openness to work through these difficult communications.1

Oddly enough, this can be the most difficult area to change. Some people spend their entire lives attempting to overcome a poor self-image or a series of deeply rooted prejudices about their place in the world. They are unable to build effective connections with people because they have too many false perceptions blocking the way.

Luckily, the cure for this is more communication. By engaging with others, we learn what our actual strengths and weaknesses are. This allows us to put forth our ideas in a clear, straightforward manner.2

This may include also gender barriers that can be sociologically inherent or may be related to cultural stereotypes due to the ways in which men and women are taught to behave in their community.

Intrapersonal Barriers

• Perceptual Barriers

Perceptual Barriers are internal. If you go into a situation thinking that the person you are talking to isn't going to understand or be interested in what you have to say, you may end up subconsciously sabotaging your effort to make your point. You will employ language that is sarcastic, dismissive, or even obtuse, thereby alienating your conversational partner. Think of movie scenarios in which someone yells clipped phrases at a person they believe is deaf. The person yelling ends up looking ridiculous while failing to communicate anything of substance.

• Emotional Barriers

We are often taught to fear the words coming out of our own mouths, as in the phrase "anything you say can and will be used against you." Overcoming this fear is difficult, but necessary. The trick is to have full confidence in what you are saying and your qualifications in saying it. People often pick up on insecurity. By believing in yourself and what you have to say, you will be able to communicate clearly without becoming overly involved in your emotions.2

1Gary Copeland 2010, The Human Element Article, accessed 9th of February 2021,
2Chris Smith, accessed 15th January 2021,


For more about this topic, download our latest book "Cultural and Language Barriers of Communication in the Workplace" for FREE:

E-Book: Cultural and Language Barriers of Communication in the Workplace

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