Gestures Come in Clusters:
“Each gesture is like a word in a language. In order to be understood in a language, one must structure his words into units, or ‘sentences’, that express complete thoughts… Some sincerely believe that a cursory exposure to the world of non-verbal communication equips them to speak the ‘language’ fluently. On the contrary, this only serves to bring their awareness to a conscious level, not to make them experts… individuals (should be discouraged) from jumping to immediate conclusions based on the observation and comprehension of isolated gestures. Understanding the congruence of gestures in harmony with one another is far more important.
By mentally matching congruent gestures that form clusters we can understand the attitudes expressed and discover some meaning. Indeed, what we should look for are similar attitudinal gestures that not only endorse one another but serve to make a cluster.
Understanding the congruency of gestures… serves as an ‘anti-assumption’ control that forces us to observe further before jumping to a conclusion.”
Excerpted from ‘How to Read a Person Like a Book’, pg. 18-19
Gerard L. Nierenberg & Henry H. Calero (1975)