Ever since the moment I first met Morgan Ingram our entrepreneurship-focused college class during my junior year, I’ve always known he would do big things. Fast forward just a handful of years later, and he already has. From starting a company to launching a successful public speaking career, Morgan has proven himself to be fully capable of taking on new challenges head on and excelling.
I’m not the only one who thinks so, either. By the young age of 26, Morgan has already secured the following prestigious accolades:
- Top 50 Sales Leaders to follow on LinkedIn
- Top 25 Sales Development Thought Leader by Inside Sales
- One of LinkedIn’s Top Sales Voices of 2018
Currently, Morgan serves as the director of Execution and Evolution at JB Sales Training. Founded by John Barrows as a response to the incredibly limited amount of formal academic sales training that exists for the #1 global profession, the company creates revolutionary new types of sales training for driven sales professionals and teams, optimized for remote delivery and immediate results.
Morgan’s current success is founded in demonstrable achievement in his previous roles. Back in 2016, he joined Terminus, where he enabled this once-small company to become the fastest growing startup in Atlanta. After coming on board to manage sales development, he led a team of 13 SDRS in developing scalable account-based marketing solutions for B2B marketers experiencing rapid growth.
A One Away Moment From a Literal 1,000-Foot View
Morgan Ingram’s life-changing One Away Moment was a serendipitous experience he can only describe as “a true godsend.” Feeling unclear on his direction and experience as a 21-year-old CEO, he booked a plane ticket to Texas to spend a week with his uncle. As he boarded the flight and settled into his seat, he contemplated the notion of exploring public speaking in conjunction with his entrepreneurial endeavors.
“[Business was profitable], but I just felt like I wasn’t being the CEO that I needed to be. Granted, I was 21 years old. I was doing what I needed to do, but I didn’t have any counsel. I didn’t have a board of advisors. It was just me figuring everything out.”
A complete stranger sat down beside him and noticed the book he was reading. In an unusual display of familiarity, he told Morgan he should be a public speaker with such unshakeable certainty that Morgan couldn’t help but be convinced on the spot. This stranger’s exact words are something he’ll never forget:
“My message to you is you need to get into public speaking. You’re not impacting
people the way that you should and you’re completely missing out on why you’re here.”
This mysterious man, Carl, turned out to be from AT&T with public speaking credentials around the globe. Together, he and Morgan spent the rest of the flight planning how to turn this idea into a reality.
5 Public Speaking Tips from Morgan Ingram
Once Morgan bit the bullet and jumped headfirst into a new life as a public speaker, he mapped out a strategic approach. Use his findings and strategy to excel in your own public speaking endeavors.
1. Keep a detailed notebook to record everything you learn. Morgan started one that very day on the plane, and it still has Carl’s number in it!
2. Decide what type of public speaker you want to be. A few options include motivational, tactical, and keynote speakers.
3. Pick 5 people to follow and learn from how they go about public speaking. Study detailed aspects of their approach, such as how they stand on stage, the topics and content they share, and their delivery style.
4. Outline topics you’re passionate about to center your content. Once you’ve determined the specific issues you want to speak on, start building out programs around each one.
5. Identify the audience you want to reach. What type of people do you want to connect with, educate, motivate, and inspire? Once you have a sense of who your speeches are intended for, you can carefully tailor them to resonate with listeners for maximum impact. User-centric content is always unbeatable.
What drew Morgan to public speaking was his core desire to motivate and educate others. I think that’s an urge most of us feel at some point in our lives. If you feel like this could be your calling, I highly encourage you to delve into Morgan’s teachings more in-depth.
As you begin this new chapter, remember how important mentors are to success. Everyone should prioritize having individuals like Morgan in our lives.
Where to Keep Learning from Morgan Ingram
I can’t get enough of Morgan’s sharp insights. If you’re already hooked, too, you can find more of his teachings on YouTube. His series, titled The SDR Chronicles, already features over 100 videos that are thoughtfully produced to empower and motivate sales development reps with with actionable advice to succeed and unique tactics you won’t find anywhere else.
If writing is more your style, see more of Morgan’s work featured in these prestigious publications:
BRYAN WISH: Morgan Ingram is the Director of Execution & Evolution at JB Sales training. This company focuses on delivering to sales development teams to enhance their skillset and performance.
In his previous role, Morgan was a sales development manager at Terminus where he managed a team of 13 SDRs and helped B2B marketers do account-based marketing at scale. Morgan joined Terminus in 2016 and helped scale the company to become the fastest growing startup in Atlanta.
In addition, Morgan Ingram started his own YouTube series The SDR Chronicles with more than 100 videos providing SDRs with motivation, advice, tactical advice, and tactics.
At only 26 years old, Morgan Ingram has been named one of the top 50 sales leaders followed by LinkedIn, a top 25 sales development thought leader by Inside Sales and LinkedIn’s top sales voice of 2018. Morgan’s work has been featured in Forbes, Sales Hacker, HubSpot Blog, and The Harvard Business Review. That’s a lot for 26 years old.
We’re going to discuss the one person in your life, named Carl, who you’ve given a major attribution for where you are today. So Morgan, tell us about that moment on the plane we talked about. Could you share who Carl is, how you met him, and the difference he has made for you?
MORGAN INGRAM: So, Bryan and I met in Management 101.
BRYAN WISH: Yes, during our junior year of college.
MORGAN INGRAM: At the time, I thought it was a boring class. I don’t even know why I was in there. Bryan and I kind of knew each other, but we also kind of didn’t. I sat next to him. At the time, the teacher, Chris, was giving out some really good information on what people need to be doing around entrepreneurship.
Bryan Wish kind of pushed me to go in that direction. We both started a company – separate companies – and started pushing that agenda. That’s what led into me being on that plane you mentioned.
My One Away Moment happened when I had been in business for a while. At that point, we were profitable, but I just felt like I wasn’t being the CEO that I needed to be. Granted, I was 21 years old. I was doing what I needed to do, but I didn’t have any counsel. I didn’t have a board of advisors. It was just me figuring everything out.
I made some strides, but I’d gotten to a point where I felt like I either needed to continuously push and figure it out or to just get rid of everything and try something different.
My parents were like, “We’re going to get you a plane ticket. You’re going to go see your uncle who has started businesses before and has seen success. Go spend a week with him. Figure some things out, and then you can figure out what you want to do moving forward.”
In the back of my head, at this point, was the vision of a public talk that summer based on the success I’d seen with this company. I suddenly realized wanted to be a public speaker. It had been in my head for a while, but I hadn’t really executed on it yet.
On that Southwest flight, I was trying to choose my seat. Really, I was just trying to find a window seat. I got out my book, The Law of Success, and just started reading this book.
A man named Carl sat down next to me. Out of nowhere, he goes, “Hey, that’s a great book that you’re reading.” I was like, “Thank you.” He asked me my name, and told me he had something to tell me that’s important.
He said, “I’m here as a messenger because you’re playing around and you’re not doing what you need to be doing.” I was like, “What?” I had no idea who this guy is. I had just met him.
In response, Carl said, “The reason I’m saying that is because my message to you is you need to get into public speaking. You’re not impacting people the way that you should and you’re completely missing out on why you’re here.”
That obviously hit home with me because that exact same idea had just been in my head. We had a conversation right there on the plane about how to become a public speaker.
I keep a notebook and it’s got all the breakdowns of the steps you need to take to go out and do that. I still have his number in that book. I talk to him year after year to give him updates no what’s happening. Also, at the same time, we had a game plan of what I needed to do in the next 12 months. That’s the game plan I followed, and it’s led me to doing exactly what I’m doing today, for the most part.
I always credit that conversation being the catalyst to starting my momentum. As soon as I came back from Dallas, my whole entire mindset and what I need to accomplish was just so different. That’s what got me in motion to do what I’m doing today and to become very diligent about the craft of public speaking.
BRYAN WISH: What made him say that to you on the plane?
MORGAN INGRAM: It was really just a God-send moment. That’s literally what he said. He said, “I’m here as a messenger.” It could have been because I was reading a book, but it really was because he said: it was a God-send moment. It’s hard for me to reject that when he said exactly what he said.
BRYAN WISH: Has Carl spoken around the world? How is he so clear on what you need to do?
MORGAN INGRAM: Carl was at AT&T and he worked in sales. He also did a lot of face-to-face selling meetings. He had been to different places in the world. When we met, he was also just starting another side business based on sports and things of that nature.
Carl’s primary field wasn’t public speaking. That fact made me lean more into this whole experience even more because he wasn’t even in the field. He was like, “This is exactly what I’m telling you that you need to do based on experience I have on traveling, working with kids in the city, and working with other people my age that it hasn’t clicked for them.” He was like, “You can do that for a lot of people. I just found out for myself, but you can accelerate a lot of people’s paths.”
BRYAN WISH: What were some of the actionable pieces that he said were a game plan? What were some of the key things you wrote in the notebook during that conversation?
MORGAN INGRAM: We picked five people that I had to go reach out to, and/or listen to their content. Tony Robbins was one of them. Eric Thomas. Marshawn Evans, who is a female speaker. Another person we wrote down is Jim Rohn, who is not alive anymore, but follow his content. We pulled up a pastor as well. I think it was TD Jakes.
It was, “Follow these people and watch how they speak. That’s how you need to start learning. You need to figure out the baseline of what they’re doing.
Consider these 3 factors:
1. How they’re delivering the speech
2. How they’re standing on the stage
3. What type of content they may have for you
From there, we went onto learning other tactical stuff;
“Write down the topics that you are passionate about and then start creating speaking programs off that.”
We also wrote down;
“What type of speaker do you want to be?
- A motivational speaker?
- A keynote speaker?
- A tactical speaker?”
Those are things I had to break down.
From there, I know how to figure out what type of audience I’m speaking to and how I deliver that. The actionable steps we started taking were building out courses, building our programs, go follow other people who are doing it, and that’s how we started out.
BRYAN WISH: He told you to participate in active consumption of people that maybe you wanted to emulate. What were some of the bigger takeaways when you studied these individuals? What did they do super well that you felt elevated them above all the other speakers out there?
MORGAN INGRAM: Powerful pauses. That is something that I think is not talked about enough when people are speaking. They did such a good job of delivering a point. Pausing now and then allows you to retain, take down notes, absorb that point, and then move to the next point.
A lot of speakers that are not as good as they’d like to be is because they don’t take powerful pauses. I’m speaking from my own experience of what I’ve had to do. They don’t have good, powerful pauses which is why they’re not getting to the next step.
Number two is they had really good inflection. When they were making serious points, they elevated their state and you’re like, “I’m locked in.” When they were making points that they just needed to make, they didn’t have that as elevated. You knew when they were elevated, this is a point I need to listen to. They did a fantastic job there.
Another point was stage presence. As soon as they were speaking, you knew everyone was gravitating towards them. They knew how to do very effective storytelling while giving the audience value as well. I can get super granular with this topic. I’ve studied maybe too many talks at this point. Those are the highlights when it comes to effective speaking. Those are things I still constitute and use today.
BRYAN WISH: He gave you direction to go learn. Then he also told you to think about the things that you care about where you can build programs around. Was this a first time someone had ever taught you this?
MORGAN INGRAM: It was both. Some of the stuff was like, “I know this.” When I was 16, I read a book and I listened to it, executed it, and saw results. I knew if I went out and absorbed things, I could go do it. I think it’s more laid on the end of new things I hadn’t heard before because I never had this breakdown before.
There is no breakdown on how you become a public speaker. There’s no course. There’s not a lot of teachers that cane like, “Hey, after college, do you want to be a public speaker? This is what you should do.” There’s no path for that. It was hard for me to get that information together. I think the way he did it, it put it together for me to be like, “Oh, all I have to do is execute on this.”
I knew the list of people based on their content, but I never took the time to pay attention to what they were doing. Like I took the content and was like, “That’s a great topic” but I wasn’t paying attention to how they pause, how they look at that one person when they make a point, how they inflected here.
While listening to these speeches, I was never paying attention to the actual thing that they were doing. I just paid attention to what they were saying. Once we took it to the next step, I’m like, what are they doing? That’s when everything changed for me. I could literally go watch keynotes all day long and be like, “Why is that impactful?” It’s what they’re saying but it’s what they’re doing too.
BRYAN WISH: How did that conversation continue on the plane? What was it about Carl that made you really want to listen to him?
MORGAN INGRAM: It was how clear and concise he was and how confident he delivered it. The fact that he had active listening towards what I really wanted to accomplish. He was plugging in those holes of what I needed to do. At the same time, he did it in a very calming way. It wasn’t, “Morgan, you need to do this. If you don’t, hellfire and brimstone.” He was very calm in the way that he guided me through it. We were very prescriptive about it as well. It makes me want to continuously follow up to make sure that those things are accurate.
BRYAN WISH: Four, five years later, how has your speaking career blossomed? How much do you attribute to that one conversation?
MORGAN INGRAM: I don’t know if I could give it a percentage, but I could weigh it and tell you a massive amount. We did meet face-to-face a year after that conversation in Atlanta. I haven’t seen him face-to-face in a while and I have plans to call him by the end of this year. It massively changed my trajectory. I had a game plan.
Before, I was just like, “I want to do it.” He gave me the game plan. For me, if I have a game plan, I can go execute it. Sometimes I just don’t know exactly what the game plan is. That’s the hardest thing about anything. What do we need to do?
Once I know what to do, we’re good. That really changed everything. I came back and started building out content libraries, started getting more into YouTube, Facebook Videos, and Periscope. It was just because of that conversation. It gave me the right to go do it.
I believe that often, in life, normally I see things in threes. If I see something, a common theme, and I keep getting this feedback or I keep seeing it pop up, that means I need to pay attention to it. That means it’s time for me to either grow in this area or I can ignore it, but it’s going to keep coming.
When it came to public speaking, I had read a book, and at the end, I mentioned about public speaking, and I was having a conversation with my friends about it and they were like, “You should think about public speaking.” Carl then came into my life, and that was the third time. It was like a face-to-face, direct indication that told me “This is what you should be doing.”
At that point, I was like, “I’ve got to stop playing around. Clearly this is what I need to be doing.” It allowed me to execute it. Now I went from doing… When I came back, I was doing public talks in locker rooms, talks to 10-20 people in classrooms.
Now, I’m an international speaker. I’ve to been to India, London, Ireland, and Canada now. I’m going to continuously grow into those different places. I went from in a classroom and locker room to now internationally doing public speaking. It’s been a massive improvement. I’ve seen a lot of growth on that as well.
BRYAN WISH: You’re telling me, it only takes one airline away to become an international speaker.
MORGAN INGRAM: Basically, yeah. Go hop on Southwest.
BRYAN WISH: How did JBarrows Sales Training find you?
MORGAN INGRAM: Through YouTube.
BRYAN WISH: Of you speaking, right?
MORGAN INGRAM: Yes, he found me on YouTube speaking. It was a video I made when I got promoted. I was like, “Hey, here are the 10 things that I did to get promoted” and it directly aligned with his core values.
When we first connected, I wasn’t even actively seeking out to work with John. It just kind of came together. We had a lot of face-to-face conversations. We realized we had synergy and figured we should work together. Our dynamic is a true yin and yang, but we definitely agree on the core values, which is the most important part.
BRYAN WISH: This is a good lesson for anyone who wants to pursue something. You knew what you wanted to do and there was one person that kind of walked into your life at the right time because you were kind of aware of what was ahead. He gave you a game plan to act on it.
I think that’s a lesson for all of us. It’s all about having a vision and knowing what that looks like. Maybe, even if we don’t know how to get there, we know people that have been there before. Carl seemed like the perfect guy to walk into your life and really kind of catapult and accelerate your success.
MORGAN INGRAM: Absolutely. That’s the biggest thing, at the end of the day. When you write something down; I have in tons of sticky notes in front of me right now. People come over here and say, “Why all these sticky notes?” The reason I have all these sticky notes is because I know these are things I need to accomplish.
It’s also about staying on top of mind. You’re not going to do anything unless you write it down. When I wrote down, “I want to become a public speaker,” I wrote it down. You think of the spiritual and the essence world. I knew that’s what I wanted to do. Now because I wrote it down, now it can come into the physical world.
Now that it’s in the physical world, something or someone will approach me about it. Now it’s up to me if I’m going to take the opportunity and execute, but I would consider writing those things down. “This is what I want to go do and in the physical world, it actually will appear.”
You have to make the decision on if you really want to execute on that. My life thus far, that’s been a staple. I can tell you multiple examples of when I write something down, it just pops up. It’s like, “Yo, this is what’s happening,” because I wrote it down. I believed in it; I want to do it.
BRYAN WISH: Where can people find you? Where can people find you speak?
MORGAN INGRAM: If you want to find me and follow-up on this conversation, it’s Morgan J Ingram on LinkedIn. That’s where I’m the most responsive. It’s funny because I never thought I’d be the most responsive on LinkedIn. In terms of speaking, I’d go to Jbarrows.com/events. We have public workshops that are focused on sales and mindset. If you want to check that out, I might be coming to your city.