Communication is the most important tool humans have to interact with each other. Effective communication is required to learn, succeed in business and relate well with others in personal relationships. There are many social factors and social disorders that can alter communication styles and preferences. Many of these factors affect the speaker unconsciously.
Cultural norms play an important role in communication. Different cultures can have very different ways of communication and engage in foreign customs when regarding communication. For example, in some cultures women may not be permitted to speak unless spoken to. In Western nations, such a concept is quite absurd, but a woman who grew up with that custom who now lives in the West may still be affected by it. This woman may then be judged as shy or disinterested because she chooses not to speak.
Shyness and Anxiety Disorders
The audience, form of communication and setting all impact the type of communication that will be delivered. People suffering from anxiety disorders, such as shyness, may be perfectly comfortable talking to close friends in their home but may find it excruciating to talk to a member of the opposite sex in a public setting such as a bar. The severity and scope of the disorder varies by individual.
Self-Esteem and Ego
Self-esteem and ego have a lot to do with verbal communication. Someone with a low sense of self-esteem may find it difficult to voice their opinion or feel they are not worthy of speaking. Contrarily, someone with an inflated ego may find it very easy to dominate the conversation and even offend others with their dominance.
Social norms also play an important role in verbal communication. The setting, context and people communicating help dictate what is deemed as appropriate conversation. For example, two lovers may find it acceptable to profess their love for each other in private but may not want to do so in public. Certain topics may be acceptable in one circle and not in another. For example, discussing health matters among a group of health care professionals may be acceptable, but that same discussion may not be acceptable at a black-tie political gala.