Words or Actions? 3 Reasons Why “Well Done” is Better than “Well Said”

Are you a word wrangler? I am. Words intrigue me! In fact, a compliment like “Well said!” is high praise which can make my whole day. That is why, when I recently read somewhere that “Well done” is better than “Well said”, it really started me thinking.

Words or Actions? Both are critical for communication. Consider the artful quote that says:

“Words are the clothes thoughts wear.”

Samuel Beckett

Words get our thoughts out of our heads and into an arena where they can be tangible to others. Words have the power to affect the world with ideas, sentiments, and information.

Actions accomplish what words can only suggest. They reveal true motives.

“Actions prove who someone is, words just prove who they want to be.”

Author unknown
Neon Sparkle sign: Words or Actions? 3 Reasons Why "Well Done" is Better than "Well Said"
Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash

As much as I adore words, I can think of at least 3 reasons why “Well done” is better than “Well said”.

1. Actions can be seen from further than words can be heard

We all have an audience. The people close to us can hear what we have to say. But there are those who watch from further away. They cannot perceive our words as they watch what we do. Our actions speak volumes to these precious people. As the saying goes:

You’re the only Gospel that some will ever read.


2. Actions are often more carefully considered than words

Because actions take investment and energy, we don’t throw them around as recklessly as we might our words. Careless whispers, and sudden outbursts are cliché, precisely because they’re quick and easy. Actions take more planning than reactions. They may not be as bountiful as words, but they can be more meaningful.

“Action speaks louder than words, but not nearly as often.”

Mark Twain

3. Actions are indicators of the truth we believe

We can speak and write complete fiction, but we cannot live it for long. Eventually, hypocrisy catches up to us. If we chase after the “Well said” moments and neglect the “Well done”, we are, as they say, all talk and no action. People see through us quickly.

“If your actions don’t live up to your words, you have nothing to say.”

Dashanne Stokes
Podium: Words or Actions? 3 Reasons Why "Well Done" is Better than "Well Said"
Photo by Florian Schmetz on Unsplash

I appreciate words. I like the way they come together to define the depths of what we know and feel. But communication is more than words, as the famous song rightly declares. And at the end of our days, we do not aim to stand before God and hear “Well said, good and faithful servant”.

“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’”

Matthew 25:21 (emphasis mine)

Considering these 3 reasons why “Well done” is better than “Well said”, I realize the caveat is in the word “well”. It seems that “Poorly said” could be less damaging than “Poorly done”, in many cases. And, as aptly exhibited by my toddler grandkids, there are surely appropriate times to elevate words over action. Asking “May I please have a turn?” is infinitely better than ripping a toy out of someone’s hands.

All being well, though, I’d rather receive “Well done” than “Well said”. Words or Actions? Is it possible to focus on both? Maybe we should strive for words IN action. What are your thoughts?

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”

1 John 3:18

20 replies on “Words or Actions? 3 Reasons Why “Well Done” is Better than “Well Said””

Your blog reminded me of James 2:15-16–“If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” You’re encouraging me to make sure I “walk the talk”!!

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Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. You make a really good point about flattery. Actions are often much more sincere than words. You take care too!


Well done, well said, well written.
“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Jesus, Matthew 12:36-37

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It is a feeling, but I often feel like I’m watching people or the clouds or the squirrels though your eyes when you write. Your words convey a kind of connection to the people and things around you… not like you’ve just noticed and passed by, but like you’re really ‘seen’ them, deep down. Its a beautiful thing!

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