Dr. Nick Morgan is one of America’s top communication theorists and coaches. He has been commissioned by Fortune 50 companies to write for many CEOs and presidents. He has coached people to give Congressional testimony, to appear on the Today Show, and to take on the investment community. He has worked widely with political and educational leaders. And he has himself spoken, led conferences, and moderated panels at venues around the world.
What was your childhood like? Any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
When I was 17, I fractured my skull in a tobogganing accident. I was in a coma for a week, and died briefly (15 minutes) during the week I was out. When I came back from that accident, I had a fascination with communication and body language because at first I found communication so difficult, especially reading body language.
Simple stuff, like telling whether a friend was being sarcastic or not, was suddenly difficult. I had to teach myself how to understand expressions, body language, and tone of voice all over again. That experience shaped how I thought about communications from then on.
What advice would you give to your 20-year old self?
I was in college, dead set on being a college teacher. I would tell my younger self to jump in and participate in things that brought me joy rather than doing what I thought was necessary to become a college professor. In the end, I left the academic world anyway because the atmosphere was too restrictive and not entrepreneurial enough.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
“Tell ’em what you’re going to say, say it, tell ’em what you said.” That means repeating yourself 3x. If you do that, your audience will be bored beyond belief. That’s old advice that just doesn’t cut it anymore, yet I still hear it all the time.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
I’m an “infovore” – meaning I read everything, as much as I can. Learning constantly is essential.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
What’s book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien because it was a fully realized alternate world. It opened my eyes, paradoxically, to the possibilities in the real world, considering that out of one man’s imagination could come whole histories, languages, and peoples.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“The only reason to give a speech is to change the world” – John F. Kennedy.