Difference between interpersonal and intrapersonal communication

Differences between Internal and External Communication

Internal communication is the process of exchanging information among the people of different level or internal participants within the organization.

On the other hand, external communication is an informal exchange of information and messages between an organization and other organizations, groups or individuals outside its formal structure. The important differences between internal and external communication are as follows:

Differences between internal and external communication

Difference between interpersonal and intrapersonal communication: Intrapersonal communication is the process of sensing, thinking, perception, evaluating and interpreting events within the self mind of an individual. For intrapersonal communication, different persons may respond differently to a single message because of differences in their perception and thinking.

On the other hand, interpersonal communication occurs when two individuals are involved or exchanging information communication occurs when two individuals are involved or exchanging information, ideas, opinions, feelings relating to the personal, social, organizational, national and international matter who are located in the same place. The important differences between interpersonal and intrapersonal communication are as follows:

Difference between interpersonal and intrapersonal communication


Shannon and Weaver Model

The Shannon and Weaver model

Shannon and Weaver model Figure 1
Shannon and Weaver model.

Back in 1949 Claude Shannon, an electrical engineer with Bell Telephone, and Warren Weaver, of the Rockefeller Foundation, (Figure 1) published their book, The Mathematical Theory of Communication 3.

Shannon and Weaver attempted to do two things:

  • Reduce the communication process to a set of mathematical formulas
  • Discuss problems that could be handled with the model.

Shannon and Weaver were not particularly interested in the sociological or psychological aspects of communication. Instead, they wanted to devise a communications system with as close to 100 percent efficiency as possible.

You’ll note that the Shannon and Weaver diagram has essentially the same parts as the one formulated by Aristotle. It’s true the parts have different names, and a fourth component — in this case the transmitter — is included.

However, this model has an interesting additional element. Shannon and Weaver were concerned with noise in the communications process. Noise, Weaver said, “may be distortions of sound (in telephony, for example) or static (in radio), or distortions in shape or shading of picture (television), or errors in transmission (telegraph or facsimile), etc.”

The “noise” concept introduced by Shannon and Weaver can be used to illustrate “semantic noise” that interferes with communication. Semantic noise is the problem connected with differences in meaning that people assign to words, to voice inflections in speech, to gestures and expressions and to other similar “noise” in writing.

Semantic noise is a more serious problem or barrier to developing effective communications than most realize. It is hard to detect that semantic noise has interfered with communication. Too often the person sending a message chooses to use words and phrases that have a certain meaning to him or her. However, they may have an altogether different meaning to individuals receiving the message. In the interest of good communication, we need to work to hold semantic noise to the lowest level possible.

We should be aware that there is a semantic noise in face-to-face verbal communication just as there is static noise, for example, in radio communication.

There are other kinds of noises involved in communication as well. Keep the noise concept in mind.

What is Noise ?

“The goal of all communication is understanding. Anything that interferes with this understanding is called noise.” Rosie Bunnow, University of Wisconsin

Physical noise (also called external noise) involves any stimuli outside of the receiver that makes the message difi cult to hear. For example, it would be difficult to hear a message from your professor if some-one were mowing the lawn outside the classroom. Physical noise can also take the form of something a person is wearing, such as “loud jewelry” or sunglasses, which may cause a receiver to focus on the object rather than the message.
Physiological noise refers to biological inl uences on message recep-tion. Examples of this type of noise are articulation problems, hearing or visual impairments, and the physical well-being of a speaker (that is, whether he or she is able to deliver a message).

Psychological noise (or internal noise) refers to a communicator’s biases, prejudices, and feelings toward a person or a message. For example, you may have heard another person use language that is offensive and derogatory while speaking about a certain cultural group. If you were bothered by this language, you were experiencing psychological noise.
Semantic noise occurs when senders and receivers apply different meanings to the same message. Semantic noise may take the form of jargon, technical language, and other words and phrases that are familiar to the sender but that are not understood by the receiver. For example, consider Jim, a 40-year-old Franco American living in Maine. Jim’s primary language is French, so he frequently uses the English language in ways that are a bit nonsensical. For instance, when asking to look at something, he says “hand me, see me” instead of “may I see that?” Or, at times, he will say “it will go that” in lieu of the phrase “this is the story.” These sorts of phrases and their use could be considered conversational semantic noise.

Lasswell’s Model Of Communcation

Harold D. Lasswell (1902-1978) is known for his studies in the field of Politics. He is considered a pioneer in the application of Psychology principles to Politics, as well as in constructing a system of Politics based on theories of Natural Sciences.

Harold Dwight Lasswell was born in Donnellson, Illinois, on February 13, 1902. His father was a Presbyterian clergyman and his mother was a schoolteacher.

Due to his successes in school, Lasswell obtained a grant for studying sociology at the University of Chicago, where he graduated in 1922. In 1926, with only 24 years old, he received the title of doctor from the same institution. His dissertation on “Propaganda Technique in the World War” (1927) is considered a leading study on Communication Theories. During this period of his life, Lasswell was influenced by the pragmatism taught by John Dewey and George Herbert Mead, among others.

But he also studied at the universities of London, Geneva, Paris and Berlin – where he studied Sigmund Freud, whose theories were determinant for Lasswell’s psychological approach to Political Science.

The University of Chicago made Lasswell an assistant professor in 1927 and an associate one in 1932. He stayed there until 1938, when he transferred to the Washington School of Psychiatry. But the Second World War started and Lasswell became the director of War Communications Research at the Library of Congress. He also worked as a professor at the New School of Social Research in New York City and at Yale Law School.

Lasswell’s communication model.

Lasswell was especially concerned with mass communication and propaganda, so his model is orientated to the researches we need to develop in order to answer his questions:

  • Who – Control analysis
  • Says what – Content analysis
  • In which channel – Media analysis
  • To whom – Audience analysis
  • With what effect – Effect analysis

Who: the sender.

This component of communication has to be studied through the “Control Analysis”. This requires the researcher to investigate things such as which company owes certain TV channel or newspaper, the ideology of the different media it owes, etc.

What: the message.

Lasswell’s main preoccupation was the mass communication, so he was especially concerned with the messages present in the media. The “Content analysis” is usually related to representations of concrete persons and situations in the media, this is, with stereotypes. For example: how are women represented in television? If one common representation of women is the housewife that cleans the house and takes care of the children, we would have to compare the percentage of that kind of women in TV to the real or objective percentage by resorting to official statistics.

Channel: the media.

In simple terms, we can state that messages can be sent in channels corresponding to our five senses. Each sense, and therefore each channel, suits better in different cases. The “Media analysis” is aimed to study the choice of one medium among all the possibilities, which will depend on lots of factors such as the content of the message, the purpose of the message, the target public, etc.

Whom: the receiver.

The question of the audience is of vital importance in order to be successful in a concrete communicational situation. By the “Audience analysis” we will try to know every important thing about the target public of one message, from gender and age to social status and tastes.

Effect: the consequences.

Lasswell was especially concerned by the consequences of mass communication on the population, so one of his major contributions was the concept of “effect”. Through the “Effect analysis” we will try to know how certain message has affected its receivers.

Although Lasswell’s model was aimed to study mass communication, it is positively known for being suitable to different situations, including interpersonal communication.

Advantage of lasswell model:
  • It is Easy and Simple
  • It suits for almost all types of communication
  • The concept of effect
Disadvantage of lasswell model:
  • Feedback not mentioned
  • Noise not mentioned
  • Linear Model


The berlo’s model follows the smcr model this model is not specific to any particular communication.

S – Source

The source in other words also called the sender is the one from whom the thought originates. He is the one who transfers the information to the receiver after carefully putting his thoughts into words.

How does the source or the sender transfer his information to the recipient ?

It is done with the help of communication skills, Attitude, Knowledge, Social System and Culture.

  • Communication Skills

An individual must possess excellent communication skills to make his communication effective and create an impact among the listeners. The speaker must know where to take pauses, where to repeat the sentences, how to speak a particular sentence, how to pronounce a word and so on. The speaker must not go on and on. He should also make a point to cross check with the recipients and listen to their queries as well. An individual must take care of his accent while communicating. A bad accent leads to a boring conversation.

  • Attitude

It is rightly said that if one has the right attitude, the whole world is at his feet. There is actually no stopping for the person if he has the right attitude. A person might be a very good speaker but if he doesn’t have the right attitude, he would never emerge as a winner. The sender must have the right attitude to create a long lasting impression on the listeners. An individual must be an MBA from a reputed institute, but he would be lost in the crowd without the right attitude.

  • Knowledge

Here knowledge is not related to the educational qualification of the speaker or the number of degrees he has in his portfolio. Knowledge is actually the clarity of the information which the speaker wants to convey to the second party. One must be thorough in what he is speaking with complete in-depth knowledge of the subject. Remember questions can pop up anytime and you have to be ready with your answers. You need to be totally familiar with what you are speaking. Before delivering any speech, read as much you can and prepare the subject completely without ignoring even the smallest detail.

  • Social System

Imagine a politician delivering a speech where he proposes to construct a temple in a Muslim dominated area. What would be the reaction of the listeners ? They would obviously be not interested. Was there any problem in the communication skills of the leader or he didn’t have the right attitude ? The displeasure of the listeners was simply because the speaker ignored the social set up of the place where he was communicating. He forgot the sentiments, cultural beliefs, religious feelings of the second party. Had it been a Hindu dominated society, his speech would have been very impressive.

  • Culture

Culture refers to the cultural background of the community or the listeners where the speaker is communicating or delivering his speech.

M – Message

When an individual converts his thoughts into words, a message is created. The process is also called as Encoding.

Any message further comprises of the following elements:

  • Content

One cannot show his grey matter to others to let him know what he is thinking. A thought has to be put into words and content has to be prepared. Content is actually the matter or the script of the conversation. It is in simpler words, the backbone of any communication.

Ted to Jenny -“I am really exhausted today, let’s plan for the movie tomorrow evening”.

Whatever Ted has communicated with Jenny is actually the content of the message. It is very important for the speaker to carefully choose the words and take good care of the content of the speech. The content has to be sensible, accurate, crisp, related to the thought to hit the listeners bang on and create an immediate impact.

  • Element

It has been observed that speech alone cannot bring a difference in the communication. Keep on constantly speaking and the listeners will definitely lose interest after some time. The speech must be coupled with lots of hand movements, gestures, postures, facial expressions, body movements to capture the attention of the listeners and make the speech impressive. Hand movements, gestures, postures, facial expressions, body movements, gestures all come under the elements of the message.

  • Treatment

Treatment is actually the way one treats his message and is conveys to the listeners. One must understand the importance of the message and must know how to handle it. If a boss wants to fire any of his employees, he has to be authoritative and can’t express his message in a casual way. This is referred to as the treatment of the message. One must understand how to present his message so that the message is conveyed in the most accurate form.

  • Structure

A message cannot be expressed in one go. It has to be properly structured in order to convey the message in the most desired form.

  • Code

Enter a wrong code and the locks will never open. Enter a wrong password, you will not be able to open your email account. In the same way the code has to be correct in the communication. Your body movements, your language, your expressions, your gestures are actually the codes of the message and have to be accurate otherwise the message gets distorted and the recipient will never be able to decode the correct information.

C – Channel

Channel – Channel actually refers to the medium how the information flows from the sender to the receiver.

How does one know what the other person is speaking ? – Through Hearing.

How does one know whether the pasta he has ordered is made in white sauce or not ? – Through Tasting.

How does one know that there is a diversion ahead or it’s a no parking zone? – Through Seeing.

How will an individual come to know that the food is fresh or stale ? How do we find out the fragrance of a perfume ? – ThroughSmelling.

How will you find out whether the milk is hot or not ? – Through Touching.

All the five senses are the channels which help human beings to communicate with each other.

R – Receiver

When the message reaches the receiver, he tries to understand what the listener actually wants to convey and then responds accordingly. This is also called as decoding.

The receiver should be on the same platform as the speaker for smooth flow of information and better understanding of the message. He should possess good communication skills to understand what the speaker is trying to convey. He should have the right attitude to understand the message in a positive way. His knowledge should also be at par with the listener and must know about the subject. He should also be from the same social and cultural background just like the speaker.

There are several loopholes in the Berlo’s model of communication. According to the berlo’s model of communication, the speaker and the listener must be on a common ground for smooth conversion which is sometimes not practical in the real scenario

Criticism of berlo’s smcr model of communication:

  1. No feedback / don’t know about the effect
  2. Does not mention barriers to communication
  3. No room for noise
  4. Complex model
  5. It is a linear model of communication
  6. Needs people to be on same level for communication to occur but not true in real life
  7. Main drawback of the model is that the model omits the usage of sixth sense as a channel which is actually a gift to the human beings (thinking, understanding, analyzing etc).


Charles Egerton Osgood (November 20, 1916 – September 15, 1991) was a distinguished American psychologist who developed a technique for measuring the connotative meaning of concepts, known as the semantic differential.

Osgood was born in Somerville, Massachusetts. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Yale University in 1945.

He was a professor of psychology of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana from 1949 to 1984, and a research professor of the Institute of Communications Research (ICR), in the UI College of Communications. He was the Director of the ICR from 1957 to 1984. He served as president of the American Psychological Association from 1962 to 1963.

One of the founding fathers of Mass Communication field.

Graduated from Marietta College in 1928 (Bachelor’s Degree in History and Political Science) Worked toward his Masters in American Civilization at Harvard. Completed the doctoral program at the University of Iowa in English Literature.
Launched the first doctoral program in Mass Communication studies under the field of Journalism in University of Iowa

Authored more than twenty-five books and forty journal articles
1935 – founded a literary magazine called American Prefaces: A Journal of Critical and Imaginative Writing,
1936 – founded the Iowa Writers’ Workshop
In 1941 , he joined the Office of War Information to investigate the nature of propaganda.
Helped in making Mass Communication as a scholastic discipline.

Wilbur Schramm in 1954 provided several additional models out of which the first was essentially an elaboration of Shannon’s. He introduced the concept of “commonness” between the source and the receiver. The message from the source is encoded and is transmitted in form of a signal to the receiver where it gets decoded. Here the information carried in form of a signal is encoded and decoded in the common way in which both the sender and receiver can interpret it easily.

In his second model, he introduced the concept of field experience, which helps in determining whether a message would be received at its destination in the manner intended by the source.

Schramm: Model 1 (1954)

schramm.gif (6074 bytes)

Schramm’s first model shows an overlap of the sender’s and receiver’s fields of experience.  For communication to be effective, the transmitted signal must fall within this shared area.

Schramm’s third model is based on the convergence or network approach. Due to various kinds of noise there are chances that the message gets distorted till it reaches the receiver, to overcome the problem he introduced the concept of feedback which helps the sender to modify the information form what he observes or hears from the receiver or the audience. The communication process now takes a circular form as both parties take on the roles of sender and recipient.

Fields of experience can be defined as, “life experiences, attitudes, values, and beliefs that each communicator brings to an interaction and that shape how messages are sent and received” (McCornack, 2010, p. 10).

Schramm: Model 2 (1954)

schramm2.gif (5777 bytes)

This model is the first to break from the linear theories of communication.  In this circular model, the sender encodes a message which is decoded and interpreted by the receiver, who then responds by encoding another signal and passing it along. 

Schramm’s model emphasizes on the importance of feedback for the information to reach the receiver in the same manner as desired by the sender. Feedback is essential in the business environment to ensure that the constituencies interpret the information correctly from the companies.

What is Communication ?

Meaning of Communication

Communication is a process which includes transmission of information, ideas, emotions, skills,  knowledge  by  using  symbols,  words,  gestures,  and  visuals and  so  on.  Thus,  the  act  of communication is referred to as ‘transmission’.

The word communication was originated from the Latin word ‘communis’ which means ‘common’. Communion, community, communism, commonality, communalism etc. are some related words having the same linguistic roots. Similarly, newer and newer terms are being coined as the concept of communication assumes importance day by day. Communication technology, communication media, communication age, communication management are just a few.
As the very term indicates, the ultimate aim of the communication process is to create commonness between communicator and receiver of the message. Through communication, both communicator and receiver enter into a mental agreement. Thus, they achieve their goal, which may be expression of an emotion or ransmission of an idea.

Transaction, interchange, interaction, dialogue, discussion, sharing, contact are some of the concepts that come up in our minds when we refer to ‘communication’.
According to Oxford English Dictionary, communication is ‘the transfer or conveying of meaning’ (Oxford Dictionary).


1. Communication is the exchange of meanings between individuals through a common system of symbols. (I.A.Richards).
2. The transmission of information, ideas attitudes, or emotion from one person or group to another or others primarily through symbols.
(Theodorson and Theordorson)
3. Communication is the transmission and interchange of facts, ideas, feeling or course of action. (Leland Brown)
4. Communication is a social interaction through messages ( Grabner, 1967)
5. The interchange of thoughts or information to bring about mutual understanding and confidence or good human relation. (American society of Training Directors).
6. ‘One mind affecting another’ (Claude Shannon)
7. ‘The mechanism through which human relations exist and develop’ (Wilbur Schramm)
8. ‘Transmission of stimuli’ (Colin Cherry)
9. Communication is the sum of all the things one person does when he wants to create understanding in the mind of another. It is a bridge of meaning. It involves a systematic and continuous process of telling, listening and understanding. (Louis Allen)
10. Communication refers to the act by one or more persons, of sending and receiving messages distorted by noise, within a context, with some effect and with some opportunity for feedback (Joseph A.Devito)