What You Do vs. What You Say

What's the Difference?

What you do and what you say are two distinct aspects of communication, yet they are closely intertwined. While what you say refers to the words you choose to express yourself, what you do encompasses your actions, body language, and non-verbal cues. Both elements play a crucial role in conveying your true intentions and feelings. What you do often speaks louder than what you say, as actions have the power to reveal your true character and beliefs. While words can be easily manipulated or misunderstood, actions tend to be more genuine and reliable indicators of one's true intentions. Therefore, it is essential to align what you say with what you do to ensure effective and authentic communication.


AttributeWhat You DoWhat You Say
ActionsPhysical activities or behaviorsVerbal expressions or statements
CommunicationNon-verbal cues, body languageVerbal language, speech
ImpactDirectly affects the external worldInfluences thoughts, emotions, and perceptions
ClarityCan be observed and interpreted objectivelyCan be subject to interpretation and miscommunication
ConsistencyReflects habitual patterns of behaviorMay not always align with actions or intentions
IntentMay not always align with actions or behaviorCan be explicitly stated or implied

Further Detail


When it comes to communication, actions and words play a significant role in conveying messages and expressing intentions. Both what you do and what you say have their own unique attributes that contribute to effective communication. In this article, we will explore and compare the characteristics of these two forms of communication, highlighting their strengths and limitations.

What You Do

Actions speak louder than words, and this holds true in various aspects of life. What you do encompasses your behaviors, gestures, and non-verbal cues that can often convey more meaning than verbal communication alone.

Firstly, actions are often seen as more authentic and genuine. People tend to trust what they see rather than what they hear, as actions are believed to reflect one's true intentions. For example, if someone consistently shows up on time for meetings and completes tasks diligently, it demonstrates their reliability and commitment.

Secondly, actions have the power to evoke emotions and create lasting impressions. A simple act of kindness, such as helping someone in need, can leave a profound impact on both the recipient and the observer. Actions have the ability to inspire, motivate, and build strong connections between individuals.

Furthermore, actions are universal and can transcend language barriers. Regardless of cultural or linguistic differences, a smile, a hug, or a handshake can convey warmth, acceptance, and understanding. Actions have the potential to foster unity and bridge gaps between people from diverse backgrounds.

Lastly, actions are often more reliable indicators of one's true character. It is easy for someone to make promises or say things they don't truly mean, but their actions will ultimately reveal their sincerity. Consistency between actions and words is crucial for building trust and credibility.

What You Say

Verbal communication, or what you say, is another essential aspect of human interaction. Words have the power to inform, persuade, and express thoughts and emotions. While actions may be more impactful in some situations, words possess their own unique attributes that contribute to effective communication.

Firstly, words allow for precise and explicit communication. Through language, we can convey complex ideas, share knowledge, and express our innermost thoughts and feelings. Words provide a platform for intellectual discussions, debates, and the exchange of ideas, enabling us to connect with others on a deeper level.

Secondly, words have the potential to inspire and motivate. A well-crafted speech or a carefully chosen set of words can ignite passion, spark creativity, and drive individuals to take action. Words can be a powerful tool for leaders, teachers, and influencers to inspire positive change and shape the world around them.

Furthermore, words allow for clarification and negotiation. In situations where misunderstandings arise, verbal communication provides an opportunity to seek clarification, ask questions, and resolve conflicts. Through effective dialogue, individuals can find common ground, reach compromises, and build stronger relationships.

Moreover, words have the advantage of being easily documented and preserved. Written or recorded words can serve as a historical record, allowing future generations to learn from the wisdom and experiences of the past. Books, speeches, and other forms of written communication have the power to transcend time and space.

Lastly, words can provide emotional support and comfort. Expressing empathy, offering kind words, and actively listening to someone's concerns can have a profound impact on their well-being. Verbal communication allows us to connect with others on an emotional level, providing solace and reassurance during challenging times.


Both what you do and what you say are integral components of effective communication. While actions may be seen as more authentic and have the power to evoke emotions, words allow for precise communication, inspiration, clarification, and emotional support. It is important to recognize the strengths and limitations of both forms of communication and strive for consistency between what we do and what we say. By aligning our actions and words, we can build trust, foster understanding, and create meaningful connections with others.

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