What is Interpersonal Communication? Types, Skills and Examples


Soft skills play a pivotal role in the lives of a normal human being to live upon. One of the key points of soft skills is communication. Be it in educational institutions or at workplaces, to have a clench on this skill manages you to succeed in various places. The method of exchanging messages through verbal or non-verbal methods to share thoughts can be briefly termed communication. With the involvement of two or more people, when there is a transfer of ideas and thoughts through verbal and non-verbal indication, it is what is understood as Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication broadly not only talks of the verbal exchange of ideas and feelings, but it also speaks about the face-to-face articulation of what you want to share. Your oratory attitude, facial expression, gestures, postures, body language, tonality, etc., decide how well the communication becomes effective. Underestimating this skill may hamper personal as well as professional life. In this article, you can learn about the specifics of working on interpersonal communication. 

Difference between Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Communication

The communication taking place between two or more people is termed interpersonal communication. It talks about the exchange of ideas, emotions, and information between specified individuals. On the other hand, intrapersonal communication is all about communication within oneself. It is about talking to yourself, which involves the exchange of dialogues and basically is the self-talk that we do. Intrapersonal communication helps a lot with personal growth. 

Types, Elements, Principles, Skills, and Examples of Interpersonal Communication

What is Interpersonal Communication?

Types of Interpersonal Communication 

Breaking down to understand interpersonal communication, you must have an idea about its types. The classification of interpersonal communication is as follows: 

  • Verbal Communication- Verbal communication is basically the type of communication in which there is the involvement of said words and there is a usage of language. There are clearly uttered words that have meaning and are being transferred to the other person. This can include intonation and phrases as well. The things being spoken are generally understood also through the tonality of the speaker. 


  • Listening- There is a basic difference between hearing and listening; however, both of them are equally important and two concepts that come under the branch of communication. Hearing is involuntary and is considered to be an automatic response. But listening needs effort. When you focus on the intention of the speaker, that is when you understand what the speaker is talking about. Listening is done on purpose and needs you to concentrate on what is being said and thus have an understanding of the same. 


  • Written Communication- When there is something said in text using the alphabet, letters, or symbols, it is termed written communication. Running from emails, messages, text chats, formal letters, and reports are considered to be forms of written communication. In situations where the information to be conveyed is lengthy and complex, written communication helps the best. This can include abbreviations, emojis, texts, PDFs, and many more. 


  • Non-verbal Communication- Communication being taken place without the use of spoken words and just sign language, can be referred to as Non-verbal communication. Body language, gestures, postures, facial expressions, etc., are termed as non-verbal communication. These days, even mimes are used to tell a story in just one picture. This also explains that there are not a lot of words required to interpret communication. 

Elements of Interpersonal Communication

When discussing interpersonal communication, you must have the idea that there are six elements of interpersonal communication. Let's get the information of each of it- 

The affirmers of communication- Without a speaker and listener, any communication cannot take place. Both of them must be flexible with each other to listen, understand, and speak as well. 

The message being conveyed- One of the prime elements of communication is the message or the main gist of the conversation. It is of both verbal and non-verbal forms. 

Peripheral Noises- During the communication taking place, noises that are not required interrupts and overpowers the message which is being conveyed. This element holds all the disturbing noises of the environment which causes difficulty in understanding of what is being talked about. 

Feedback- Feedback is received immediately when the conversation is taking place. There are various versions in which the feedback can be received, such as verbal feedback or non-verbal feedback, like facial expressions, changes in body language, etc. 

Context of Communication- Every communication is impacted by the environment in which it occurs. But in addition to examining the situational setting of the interaction—in a room, workplace, or maybe outside—it's also important to take into account the social context, which includes things like the individuals' roles, duties, and relative standing. The conversation will also be impacted by the emotional atmosphere and participants' expectations for the exchange.

Channel/ Mode of Interpersonal Communication- The Channel, in totality, talks about the means through which the message or the base of communication is being transmitted from one person to another, more conveyed. Such as speech and vision in the case of face-to-face conversation and speech in the case of telephonic conversation. 

Principles of Interpersonal Communication 

Communication, though, seems very simple and a piece of cake, yet it is intricate and labyrinthine. To get an idea about its understanding, you must understand the principles as explained below: 

It is consignable- 

Communication is transmissible and an articulatory process created by the parties involved in an interaction. Only with the participation of the speakers can communication take place. 

Not necessarily there has to be any intention- 

With or without any intention, if an interaction takes place, it is termed as communication. All that has to be considered is that there is an exchange of thoughts and proper understanding of the same, as well. 

Communication is an irreversible process- 

Words, once out of the mouth, are non-returnable. Thus, once said, it cannot be altered. If anything bad or ill is spoken about, it can only be regretted. 

It is nonreplicable- 

Verbal words cannot be plagiarized or duplicated. Words with every individual change and are never the same. Thus, it is advised to think before speaking. 

Effective blocks of interpersonal communication

Even interpersonal communication can be hindered due to various reasons. They create barriers between two communicators and stop the message from being conveyed. Some of these include the following: 

Language Barrier- One of the very basic barriers that any individual refuses to learn about is a language barrier. At the verbal and written communication level, the language barrier can be an issue leading to other various problems. In case when you are talking to only an expert, use technical terms that can be understood. With the rest, your thoughts can be clear and crisp. Additionally, there are various languages being spoken; thus, you can decide on a common language to communicate with your partner. 

Physical Barrier- In case you wish to convey a message, however, due to the distinct meaning being drawn because of the lack of understanding between the two communications. This can be explained by the example of you being angry; when you are happy from within, the message of being upset with something will be conveyed. 

External factors- Due to various disturbing noises in the environment, communication can be affected. The disruptive surroundings can hamper the communication to take place and one shall fail to understand others. Other than this, other factors which are considered to be external ones are weather conditions, connection issues, and many more. 

Skills of Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication helps with expertise in various fields. Communication, being a behavioral skill, shall guide you in practicing what it teaches. These are as follows: 

  • Active listening
  • Openness
  • Grow a positive attitude within
  • Gain emotional intelligence
  • Develop problem-solving character
  • Be empathetic and responsible
  • Critically think about a problem and gather negotiation skills

Examples of Interpersonal Communication

Because interpersonal communication can help you understand others not just by what they say but also by how they see the world, it is crucial for improving the quality of relationships and fortifying the ties between people. There are various types of interpersonal communication that take place on a daily basis. Some of these are as follows: 

  • Face-to-face communication
  • Emails, Text messages, or Slack
  • Phone calls
  • Presentations and meetings
  • Play Performances

Uses of Interpersonal Communication

A key factor in exchanging ideas and thoughts is interpersonal communication, which leads to engaging an individual on a daily basis. It can be used for the following reasons- 

  • Gather and proffer details
  • Predict the behavior of an individual
  • Making decision and solving problems
  • Navigate interactions with the world
  • When needed, give an emotional support
  • Understand other's needs and explain yours
  • Regulate anticipatory powers in social or professional

Tips for Improving Interpersonal Communication Skills

Building interpersonal communication skills shall guide you in tweaking your relations on a personal and professional basis. Building better relationships in both your personal and professional life can be facilitated by having the capability to effectively communicate your ideas and thoughts to others. Your ability to listen will also improve your understanding and capacity for empathy with others. But, having trouble in some aspects of interpersonal communication does not indicate weakness or incompetence. For a multitude of causes, including social anxiety, neurological differences, autism spectrum disorders, and mental health challenges, you may experience difficulties with specific communication parts. Thus, the below-given points shall help you build interpersonal skills- 

Listening practice shall be exercised- Active listening accelerates your communication skills. It involves focus and concentration on what someone is saying, without interrupting the same. Eye contacts, nodding, commenting, and asking questions shall help you participate in active listening. 

Use clear and simple language- The context of the speech and communication being made has to be clear and crisp. The use of simple language will help accelerate interpersonal communication. Less usage of complicated or difficult words and technical terms is to be avoided for effective communication. 

Understand non-verbal communication- For a better development of interpersonal communication, the understanding of non-verbal communication is important. This can include features, gestures, sign language, facial expressions, and many more. Along with verbal communication, non-verbal words shall also help for communication to take place effectively. 

Be empathetic- Empathy is the capacity to comprehend and experience another person's emotions. When conversing with others, make an effort to understand and be compassionate toward their viewpoint by placing yourself in their position.

Grow good relationships- Create a connection with others and find points of agreement in order to build rapport. This has the potential to improve communication and foster trust. To create a positive relationship, find something you have in common, whether it be hobbies or experiences, and use humor or other positive reinforcement techniques.

Take feedback positively- With any communication happening, there are always views and opinions from the other side of the table as well. Thus, you must take this feedback on a positive note and work on the same. 

Conclusion- In this article, we have covered everything about interpersonal communication skills. We hope that you have a clear picture of

How to Boost Your Interpersonal Skills?
How do you improve your interpersonal communication skills?
How can you develop interpersonal communication skills?
and tips for improving interpersonal communication skills at work

Interpersonal communication can thus be valued as a vital soft skill that is mainly required for a space to express at workplaces. If you possess good communication skills, you can clearly express yourself and your thoughts. It's important, therefore, to be skilled well in this discipline. The given article must have helped you with all the necessary specifications. 

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