Proverbs 16:21

The wise of heart is called discerning,
and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.

Here is our sweet talker. A wise person will be recognized for his wisdom, and, because he is wise, he will know how to speak in a persuasive manner. Our sweet talker is a wise guy! Do you want to be the person who, when you speak, people listen? There are two routes you can go.

The first route to take is to seek wisdom. Seek to understand right from wrong. Seek to understand God and his ways. Seek to understand the human heart. The more you understand, the wiser you will be, and the wiser you are, the more respect you will gain. You will become one who is trusted, whose opinion is respected. This will happen because of what you know, but also because your wisdom guides how you speak.

The wise person knows what to say and how to say it because he understands the human heart and how different persons respond to instruction. The wise person understands how God would have him speak, that it is important to God to build up others with the truth, not blow them away with it. The wise person gives attention to his tongue, knowing when to speak and when to keep silent.

The easier route in which to gain influence is to take courses on speaking and salesmanship. There are excellent books and seminars that teach how to sell yourself. The classic book is Dale Carnegies How to Win Friends and Influence People. Public TV has built its success on featuring financial, health, and even spiritual gurus who are excellent communicators and have built successful careers of influence. As the best salespersons know, cultivating the ability to speak in a winsome manner paves the way for success.

One can counterfeit wisdom. This is not a secret, and, indeed, has become a science in the marketing and political world. Knowing how to use words and catch phrases, knowing how to use the inflexion of ones voice, how to use dramatic pause, body language, and so on such knowledge can turn someone into a sweet talker without the wisdom. All of us at some time have fallen prey to such sweet talkers.

It is not wrong to learn techniques of speaking. A wise person may take advantage of such things to improve himself. But nothing replaces wisdom itself, and nothing stands the test of time like wisdom. Remember this. We can be anxious to have people acknowledge us for our wisdom, and, indeed, make fools of ourselves trying to impress others. But real wisdom has a way of coming to the surface to be seen. The counterfeit wisdom of others might take the spotlight for awhile, but real wisdom will be seen eventually, if not by the majority, at least by others who have wisdom as well. You will be able to persuade those who have the ears to hear and win the respect of those whose opinions are themselves respectable.

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