Communication can’t be considered effective if the message gets lost. This happens because of communication barriers. A communication barrier is an obstacle that stands in the way of a desired outcome. It can be anything that impedes communication. While we often think of such problems as arising between two people, the issue can even arise within the self. Sometimes, we have to learn to appropriately analyze a message and anticipate the response to overcome intrapersonal barriers to communication.

It’s important to understand how barriers operate so that communication in an organization is smooth and effective. Communication barriers can be classified into interpersonal barriers, intrapersonal barriers and organizational barriers.


    1. What Are Intrapersonal Barriers To Communication?

    2. Grouping Intrapersonal Barriers

    3. Overcoming Intrapersonal Barriers In Communication

What Are Intrapersonal Barriers To Communication?


Intrapersonal barriers are obstacles within the self that stop us from sending and receiving information effectively. Individuals have their own preconceptions due to their personality, education, experiences, culture and values. Not everyone interprets a message in the same way.

Some common causes of intrapersonal barriers to communication are:

  • Incorrect Assumptions

When we receive a message, we make incorrect assumptions sometimes due to lack of knowledge about an individual or a preconceived notion.

  • Differing Perceptions

The way we view and understand the world can be defined as our perception. Differing perceptions arise because each individual holds a different viewpoint on the same situation.

  • Different Background

An individual’s background plays an important role in determining how they interpret a message. People have different education, environment and cultures. They respond to different experiences in their own unique way.

  • Blocked Categories

People may not receive information well if it doesn’t conform to their views and attitudes. They might ignore current developments and resist them, which in turn affects the communication process. The lack of desire or ability to adapt is a key factor behind intrapersonal barriers.

  • Categorical Thinking

Those who believe they know everything about a subject tend to disregard any further information about it. They create barriers of intrapersonal communication due to their know-it-all attitude, which causes communication failure.

Intrapersonal barriers can be overcome by paying attention and making an effort to rectify the problem. One of the examples of intrapersonal barriers of communication is when a doctor uses technical terms with a patient without stopping to think whether the patient understands what they mean. If the doctor gives it some thought, they’ll be able to explain in simpler terms. 

Grouping Intrapersonal Barriers


A person reacts to a message based on their own interpretation if they’re facing intrapersonal barriers. The factors that influence how they interpret information can be grouped into the following categories:

  • Psychological Barriers

The emotional state decides how we communicate and interpret information. Psychological barriers  can arise out of a fear of expressing oneself, absent-mindedness, anxiety or other mental health concerns.

  • Physiological Barriers

These can arise due to lack of concentration, the inability to commit something to memory or even sensory dysfunctions.

  • Perceptual Barriers

These barriers are based on an individual’s education, experiences, cultural background and value system. They arise as a result of a person’s own attitude. The socio-economic and cultural backgrounds of a person can play a significant role in poor management, lack of consultation, personality conflicts and resistance to ideas.

While barriers within the self can cause discomfort and resistance, it’s possible to work through many of these issues and reduce their impact.

Overcoming Intrapersonal Barriers In Communication


Often messages are misinterpreted because of intrapersonal barriers. Luckily, these obstacles can be overcome for communicating effectively. Here are some ways to overcome intrapersonal barriers in communication:

  • Nurture a broader, unbiased perspective
  • Practice empathy whenever possible
  • Identify the other person’s background and be sensitive to it
  • Use phrases such as ‘in my opinion’ or ‘evidence suggests’ to interpret facts that have not been established yet
  • Don’t jump to conclusions or make hasty assumptions
  • Stick to the subject

Intrapersonal barriers can occur at any stage of the communication process. It can put projects at jeopardy, cause deals to fall through and result in wasted resources and time. And of course, it causes confusion and misunderstandings. Overcoming these barriers will help with effective communication and conveying messages clearly and concisely.

Harappa’s Confident Communication Program can help work through some of these issues. It helps people and teams communicate with ease. It tackles how to write engaging messages, interpret ideas precisely and listen actively. The correct tone, pace and body language for positive communication are important. Learn to establish the context of communication and structure important information. Learn how to make an impact thanks to sharp communication skills today!

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