The truth is that in every relationship – personal and professional – what you do has far greater impact than anything you say. You can say you love someone – but unless you demonstrate that love through your actions, your words become meaningless. You can say you want to engage in win-win negotiation – but unless your behavior shows that you really mean it, you will come across as insincere. You can say your company puts the customer first. You can say that you recognize people as your most important asset. You can say that you will comply with the rules, that you won’t engage in unethical practices, that you will respect a confidence, keep a commitment, or deliver results. You can say all of these things, but unless you actually do them, your words will not build trust; in fact, they will destroy it.
Good words have their place. They signal behavior. They declare intent. They can create enormous hope. And when those words are followed by validating behavior, they increase trust, sometimes dramatically. But when the behavior doesn’t follow or doesn’t match the verbal message, words turn into withdrawals.
From “The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything” by Stephen M. R. Covey