According to Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, “There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.”

These are the ways we communicate with the world…so what are you saying?


  • What we do – They say actions speak louder than words. Are you walking the talk? Practicing what you preach? You can say anything you want, but if you are not following through, the message you are communicating is that you are untrustworthy, unreliable, and a liar! So, think before you speak.

For some of us, saying ‘no’ is challenging. We want to please others. But if we are unable to follow through on what we’ve said ‘yes’ to, we are doing more harm than good to those we are trying to please.

Consider, for example, how you feel when someone tells you that they “run” a company, but when you contact them to discuss business you find out that they are not in a decision making role? People are far more impressed with honesty than they are with what someone ‘says’ they do.

  • How we look – This is a sensitive subject for many people because the truth is, good or bad, people make a judgment based on the way we look. But it’s not about spending thousands of dollars on your clothing, hair and make-up. It’s about presenting yourself in a way that says I care about myself and about the message I’m sending. A smile is contagious, it goes a long way, and every smile is beautiful!
  • What we say – Growing up, I’m sure everyone has heard someone say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Just as negativity feeds negativity, so, too, does positivity feed positivity. Who are you more likely to listen to –  the person who is constantly talking about what the problems are, or the person who is continuously coming up with positive, proactive solutions?
  • How we say it – Not every conversation can be sunshine and roses. Sometimes we are required to have those difficult conversations. But we can choose how we how we communicate difficult messages.

When faced with a challenging conversation, keep these tips in mind

  • Remain calm
  • Try looking at the situation from the other persons perspective
  • Listen more than you speak
  • Be prepared with solutions

The bottom line is, be sure that what you do, how you look, what you say, and how you say it are all sending a consistent message. And be sure that it is the message that you want to send. Because what you are really communicating is who you are.

Caroline Wee is a professional speaker and trainer. She specializes in training on the topics of diversity, team building and the power of communication. She obtained her degree in Organizational Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Caroline spent a year teaching English in Korea because she believes in living her passion and when she speaks, it shows! You can learn more about Caroline by visiting: