Looking for nonverbal communication gestures in clusters prevents us from allowing a single expression or movement to be the deciding factor in a conversation or determine our thoughts about the other person’s intent. Sure, crossing your arms over your chest can be a sign of being close-minded or resistant; however, it could be that the person is simply chilled and forgot their sweater. Perhaps during a conversation you develop a shooting pain in your ankle and it shows on your face. If it happens only once the other person will most likely disregard it. If it continues it will detract from your message if you do not explain it. Reading a person’s tails or clusters allows you to reevaluate the message you are delivering and make sure that the individual is receiving the intended message.
If you are providing treatment and the patient continuously crosses and uncrosses their legs, this is more than one isolated movement, it’s a cluster and it may mean something is not feeling right to the patient. Perhaps they need a break, or they are uncomfortable and don’t know how to communicate it without words. Paying attention to the whole person is the key to making sure you do not miss an opportunity to be helpful or to understand fully what the other person is experiencing.
When supporting patients great customer service is the key. It will help you stand out above the rest. This is a simple way to stand out against the crowd because you are showing that you are able to determine the subtleties of what a patient needs.