Developing Digital Charisma

Virtual Lunch - Developing Digital Charisma

Last year, when everyone was scrambling to do meetings online, you might have been able to get away with a bad video now and then.

Those days are over.

Now, if you want to appear as the professional you truly are, it’s time to step up your game. So in this rebroadcast of Virtual Lunch in the Exhibit Marketers Café, Ramon Ray shares tips on:

  • Maintaining effective eye contact
  • Creating a ‘stage’ that’s appropriate for you
  • Getting the basic tech tools you need to look and sound good

Here are links to items mentioned during the interview:

About Ramon Ray

Ramon Ray
Ramon Ray

Ramon Ray is a successful entrepreneur, in-demand, motivational speaker and event host. He’s started four companies and sold two of them. He’s authored four books, including Celebrity CEO. Audiences around the world are inspired by his high energy and ability to connect and care.


[00:00:00.570] - Marlys Arnold

You're listening to the Trade Show Insights podcast, Season 16, Episode three.

[00:00:19.290] - Marlys Arnold

I'm your host, and exhibit marketing strategist, Marlys Arnold bringing you tools to improve your exhibit results on today's episode brought to you by the Exhibit Marketers Cafe. We've got a rebroadcast of our virtual lunch with Ramon Ray, sharing tips for improving the way we present ourselves online.

[00:01:02.210] - Marlys Arnold

Ramon Ray is, he's the perfect person to talk about digital charisma, which you'll find out here in just a minute as you see him talk and just see his approach. But just to give you a little bit of background on Ramon, and for those of you who were here last month, I actually his article on Digital Charisma was one of the ones that I shared in the announcement section. So you may have already had a chance to go read that, but now we're going to talk in more depth.

[00:01:30.450] - Marlys Arnold

But anyway, Ramon was born in the Midwest and then moved to Brooklyn as a teenager. So he served at the U.N., which I think is fascinating, for over 10 years before becoming a full time entrepreneur.

[00:01:45.990] - Marlys Arnold

He started four companies and sold two of them. He's authored four books, including The Celebrity CEO, and he is the founder of Smart and the Smart Hustle podcast, which Alan is a big fan of the Smart Hustle podcast.So, anyway, Ramon, welcome to Virtual Lunch. It's great to have you here today.

[00:02:06.960] - Ramon Ray

Thank you, Marlys. I appreciate it so much. And it's great to be here with you, your team. And thanks for having me. Thanks for seeing value to share with your community. It's amazing. I've been watching the comments and Alan and Arlene and Amanda and so many that are here and engaging. So thank you all for spending time with me and Marlys today. Really appreciate it.

[00:02:24.750] - Marlys Arnold

Yeah. And Amanda says she loves the idea of digital charisma. So, yeah, I think, you know, it it's kind of back to where I was talking about initially that that first article that I shared about the love of words and the way you present things. Ramon, you're so good at that digital charisma. It's like what a great concept and what a great way of framing that. So just talk to us a little bit about what what is digital charisma? Why is it so important? Sure.

[00:02:50.520] - Ramon Ray

Let's assume Marlys and start here that somebody has charisma offline. Let's just start there, because if you don't have charisma, you know, and what is charisma for me? It's happy you're happy or you're. Hey, how are you? You have a smile to your face. That's the summary of it. And I think let's assume that somebody is that way in the offline world. But Marlys, as you know, everybody listening over the past year, especially all of us pretty much have had to do just behind a video camera.

[00:03:14.550] - Ramon Ray

So I think that was the question which came up of man how do we translate this into the online world? And that's where I am happy to go with this point, if you want. But that's why I expressed some of those key points of how do we do that online? And some of the key things were, I think, our voice right. That's one thing I said are smile looking at the camera.

[00:03:31.120] - Ramon Ray

So that's really this aspect because I can't shake your hand, can't give you a hug. I can't give you a high five. I can't say hey everybody stand up. Put your hands together with the music. No, it's just me and the camera. So how do we do that in this quote unquote virtual world? That's what we're trying to convey.

[00:03:51.870] - Marlys Arnold

Right. Well, it's like you said, a lot of it is your voice, because I can give two examples of webinars that I have sat on or well, started to sit on. I should say what when I sat through the other one, I did not. But the one she talked so fast and she mumbled. And both of these, by the way, were software instructions. So it was like the kind of thing where you really needed to pay attention and focus and really get what they were talking about. The first one when she was mumbling so bad and people kept typing in the comments, can you please slow down? You know, and she would acknowledge that and she'd do OK for a few sentences and then she'd be back to mumble, you know, and it was really hard. Well,

[00:04:31.860] - Ramon Ray

What did she say? She said, mumble. Go ahead.

[00:04:37.410] - Marlys Arnold

But, yeah, it's like check out that transcript and see if you can figure it out, you know. But then the second one was so bad I turned him off after about five minutes because he was like this, that he was monotone and he and you couldn't hear. And it was like, oh my goodness, that's just horrible. And I think, you know, OK, if you're going to present your software, your product, and you're wanting to get people to sign up for it, put your best person on camera, you know. Really?

[00:05:03.930] - Ramon Ray

Yeah, that's right. And in fairness, Marlys who take sometimes training, but again, you know, people who may have otherwise been OK or done well in the offline world online, as you know, you and I are doing this now. You have to step it up. And I think I don't know what to tell people who can't. Maybe I would say the solution probably have a good moderator. Let's say I'm that person that's not so great. Marlys then can bring it out of me by stopping me, asking me questions when she senses the energy down. Ramon that was great. Tell us again how the W482965874A widget worked again.

[00:05:37.560] - Marlys Arnold

Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And I think that's part of it, is that that people just that I think that when that little red light or in my case it's a green light, my computer comes on, it's like a lot of people just kind of ahhh you know, and I found and maybe you found to that even sometimes professional speakers that are great on stage, they just can't bring it on camera. And so it really is something that takes practice and getting used to that, Patty says being an expert doesn't always make good face for the product or promotion. Yeah, that's that's true.

[00:06:12.640] - Ramon Ray

True Patty, and you're right about that. And I think part of that Marlys is that, you know, it's part of the audience engagement is one, I think. And I think the overall awareness of it is that if you're aware that I'm in a virtual environment, so there's the chat, there's the camera here, there's the host right now being careful that to it's Marlys to show it's not Ramon's show. So those few elements, I think, will make part of that of charisma asking questions. And you've done it. Will you call it out? People, you have the lower thirds, cause you're a baller, but those who are learning, that's all part of this package. The smile we do face interactions that one Marlys is talking. I'm like this. (looking around)

[00:06:48.290] - Marlys Arnold

Oh, yeah, I've seen a lot of that, too.

[00:06:50.300] - Ramon Ray

I mean, do you realize that people are staring me too even though Marlys is talking.

[00:06:56.990] - Marlys Arnold

Yeah, I know, I know. It's amazing to me how many people just don't even they don't even stop to think that they're really on camera. They're just kind of like ughhhh digging around at things or whatever. And it's like, oh, come on, focus, you know. And I have to say, it's hard for me because I want to look at your face on the screen, not continue to look at the camera. So sometimes it is a little bit challenging and the chat and everything else. But part of it is I've been teaching webinars for 12, 13 years. So this isn't a total shock for me. But but, you know, a lot of people it is it's it's a whole new thing. So let's talk about some of the points from your article that you went over. You know, well, we've talked a little bit already about eye contact or camera eye contact, but kind of go into that a little bit more in the whole ya know, acknowledging the audience.

[00:07:45.620] - Ramon Ray

Absolutely. And I think I think the main thing is and probably those who are experts know this, but just to help those maybe listening to this afterwards, it's knee jerk reaction. Let's say Marlys was on the screen if I'm going like this. Yes, that's great. Awesome. Oh, yeah. But see how weird this looks. This looks terrible to you. All right. My head's in the way. (moving around on camera) And all this, even though I'm not looking at you as Marlys already knows, but those learning, this is what you want to do. So I think that's one big thing. Look at that lens. Make it your friend if you have to put Marlys' picture up there. But that's where you want to look, because to the audience, it makes it look like I'm looking at them. So I think that's one thing. I think, two, definitely the chat. I think it's a powerful way to bring in the audience. I'm going to do it here because it's a little different system. But I can see the chat, right. Even when I came in, I acknowledged some of the people Pat and Patty, thank you. And Alan, thank you. Acknowledge they came on. So that's important for a longer session. If this was if I was doing this for sixty minutes, bringing the audience right, you'd say, hey, if you agree that burnt pancakes is the best breakfast in the world, put yes. I don't see anybody putting yes, I guess

[00:08:49.160] - Marlys Arnold

I don't see anybody either.

[00:08:51.230] - Ramon Ray

But things like that. So I think that's true. And I think as we've said before, I think that voice is important. Pause, go fast, go slow, punctuate the voice. And again, Marlys, I have done this for years. But for those learning, maybe you're today not going to be exactly what we're doing. But I bet you'll be a bit better tomorrow translating your charisma online if you take a few of these tips with how you can be more aware of what you're doing. And I think part of it Marlys is that it it's just being aware that's what the key is.

[00:09:21.960] - Marlys Arnold

Well, that's true and looking at it as if you were an audience member, I think that's part of it, too, is not just being so focused just on what you're saying, but focus on how it's coming across. And I think a lot of people I've seen a lot of people just the way they frame themselves in everything, a lot of people. And I every time I'm doing workshops now for exhibitors, for virtual exhibiting, I tell them, don't sit with a window behind you because then you get that whole witness protection look.

[00:09:57.510] - Ramon Ray

(laughing) And we don't want that.

[00:09:57.750] - Marlys Arnold

That's not the look you're going for, you know, so it's like, you know, there's a lot and obviously you have a lot more of a stylized backdrop than I do. I just have my picture on the wall. But, you know, tell us a little bit more about staging. And I know you do some things with props, too.

[00:10:13.320] - Ramon Ray

Absolutely I do. And if anybody, in the chats maybe puts the key word puppet or bell, maybe I'll bring it out. If not, then I won't do it. It's fine. But the point is, is that I think you so for me, just to present what this is, this is the best I can do right now. Some options are you can do a DSLR, our camera. Right. The fancy more expensive camera, have the back word, maybe better quality. So that's one thing, too. There's a lot above me which kind of have some of that shine on there. But it's okay what I'm doing at this time. I do have lights here, Marlys, and I'm just to show people I'm turning them off. You may not see a big difference, but these are just two small lights that I have clipping on there. It's one. And then the framing I'll just show you. This is a movable wall right here. I have this just to hide some things over there. And this is the painting. I didn't get it for a digital world, but I thought it fit kind of Ramon. It's a bit busy, but this is my style. For Marlys, she may say I want something similar, but you can see she has red on, so she pops in what she has. So I'll pause there to give you space Marlys. But those are a few things I'd say about how it works and there's no perfect. But as you said the big thing is I think have it look a little neat, a little symmetric. That's what I would say.

[00:11:22.260] - Marlys Arnold

Well, and I like how you talked about the fact that you brought in things that reflect your personality. So, you know, it all needs to be authentic and and connected somehow and not just look like it's, you know, thrown together, which is what most people's background. Oh, and then the whole idea of the virtual backgrounds don't even get me started on that. I think that... ya know when somebody, half their face or their shoulder keeps disappearing. It's like just don't do that.

[00:11:46.370] - Ramon Ray

And if people have to have it, as you know, Marlys, I think the experts have said the it's great lighting and similar background to something that's the best way to make a virtue. I think it's the lighting, something like that. People have said, I believe. Yeah.

[00:11:58.870] - Marlys Arnold

Yeah. Well, back to your burnt pancakes comments. We got some replies here. Rama says her daughter made burnt pancakes yesterday. She wasn't thrilled. So and I also noticed she doesn't admit whether or not she ate any of them. Chris says banana pancakes not burnt.Wendy likes Rama's comment. Wendy says, Great tips, Ramon. A work in progress is good aim. And that's true. I think that a lot of us feel like especially now we're watching professional broadcasters, you know, newscasters broadcast from home. And so we kind of tend to compare ourselves to that. And it's like we're not on that level and we probably don't have the kind of equipment they have. But that's something that we can work towards.

[00:12:39.210] - Ramon Ray

That's right. Correct. And I think that's important. You're saying, listen, when I first started, of course, for years, as you and I have had some decent equipment, but the first day of COVID, guess what? I didn't, not the first day of COVID, I didn't have these two lights, I had this microphone in a drawer. Somebody asked about the microphone. I'll just hold it up. Nothing special for Marlys, but for some of you, I hope I didn't disconnect. So that's just a regular podcasting mic and background has evolved, for sure. So and I think by now Marlys, I think you probably will agree. I think everybody who does this frequently, you should have the very least good lighting, a decent microphone so your voice sounds legit. It's been a year. Come on, people, you know, smacking the back of the hand.

[00:13:18.000] - Marlys Arnold

Yeah, well, and in the beginning, it was really hard to get equipment too I don't like ring lights were sold out almost immediately and there were a lot of pieces of equipment and there's still some hit and miss things on mics. But, you know, and it doesn't have to be a super expensive mic. I always tell people I did the first 10 years, 10 plus years of my podcast with a cheap twenty five dollar mike. So it wasn't anything fancy. And then I got my pro mic, which mine's just a little too far off camera to show. But, you know, I spent over one hundred bucks on this one, but I didn't spend five hundred. I mean, it wasn't hugely expensive, but just upgrading the equipment a little bit and lighting, you know, again, the ring lights, those aren't terribly expensive. I love how Arlene says I feel like Ramon's ray of sunshine through his feed, loving his energy. And that's what I told you guys in the beginning. It's like he's like the perfect representative for digital charisma because he, every time I've seen Ramon speak is just he just so enthusiastic and it just comes right through the camera.

[00:14:18.840] - Ramon Ray

Thank you. Thank you. I love what I do, and I think we all have different ways we present ourselves. And for me, I don't take myself too seriously. I love to have a lot of fun and in fact, it's part of our core values. Have fun and do the right thing. And and that's me. But thank you, Amanda, for this kind ... Yeah.

[00:14:36.830] - Marlys Arnold

So Amanda wants to know what kind of microphone you're using.

[00:14:40.580] - Ramon Ray

So the microphone I have, but again, the microphone type and all that doesn't matter so much. But I'll just share with you. But just look for a podcast microphone but usually have some weight to it. So this is now an older mic that's not any more made by M Audio, but I'm sure Marlys may have in her head some of the famous names are just. Yeti, that's one. But I'm skipping. But this is just a microphone USB connection. And then this is to take out that the pop like if you don't have it, you may not hear it here, but sometimes the S and the whats or whatever it is, I'm not a linguist, but that's what the people like Marlys say if I didn't have it. And then I have this little thing to just keep the wind out. So it sounds a bit more crisp, that's what I have.

[00:15:16.700] - Marlys Arnold

Yes, yes. Yes. Sometimes also referred to a spit guard.

[00:15:21.050] - Ramon Ray

Yes, that too.

[00:15:23.390] - Marlys Arnold

And just FYI, the mic that I use is the Audio Technica AT2020. Love, love, love, my new my new mic.

[00:15:32.660] - Ramon Ray

Audio Technica has some pretty good brands, very good brands.

[00:15:34.070] - Marlys Arnold

So yeah but like Ramon mentioned, there's Yeti, there's Rhode. Rhode has a number of different mikes, so there's a lot of different things that you can get. But so let's see. So ...

[00:15:47.210] - Ramon Ray

If people want to buy our equipment. I must say, I know I can speak for Marlys, you can buy her mic from her for ten thousand dollars if you want to pay her the money right now, her and I both will sell you our equipment. So if you want my lights, what do you think? Marlys five thousand. Yeah.

[00:16:01.640] - Marlys Arnold

Yeah. Sounds good. Amanda says, I need some more equipment. So any clip lights and decent microphone recommendations that won't break the bank would be great. So. Yeah. So we gave you, we gave you a few mic recommendations. As far as lights, what do you use for lights.

[00:16:16.310] - Ramon Ray

That's kind of my one here. It's hard to tell it, but this a little clip here. You can see me doing that (unclipped and showing light) I clip them onto my desk. I won't shine it in your eye, but it has a gooseneck on it. So, yeah, that's kind of weird here, but that's all I have. I have two of these left and right of me facing my face and it works for me. So,

[00:16:31.910] - Marlys Arnold

Yeah. And at this point in time I just have a ceiling fan that the light point's right down on me. So I haven't I, I actually just ordered a ring light to use when I do like with my phone or something else. But yeah I mean there's ways, there's even just like you can get one of those utility lights from Lowe's or Home Depot and use that, you know, I mean, you know, it doesn't have to break the bank, so but there's lots of options. Amanda says thank you for the recommendation.

[00:17:01.670] - Ramon Ray

Your welcome,

[00:17:01.670] - Marlys Arnold

And Chris points out something interesting. Ramon's spit guard and the circles in the backdrop create a nice circular pattern.

[00:17:08.960] - Ramon Ray

Thank you, Chris and Chris, you know what, Chris? If you tell me whoever says if they find Mickey Mouse, I will just send you, in the mail, a copy of my book. Who can find Mickey Mouse? Not Ernie. Because Ernie, you can see them.

[00:17:21.630] - Marlys Arnold

Oh, yeah, I know. I'm waiting for Ernie to make an appearance here.

[00:17:26.650] - Ramon Ray

Since you asked, well, who can find Mickey Mouse? Who can find Mickey Mouse? We have a few more seconds here.

[00:17:31.430] - Marlys Arnold

I see Mickey.

[00:17:32.990] - Ramon Ray

You see Mickey. ... (as Ernie) But Marlys, How are you? I don't even know this is the right accent, but I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for having me. I love to go to different countries and do puppet shows for little kids. It's just part of me being crazy. I don't even know if I got it right, but I like to have fun. Hi Ramon, how are you. So that's Ernie having a cameo with Marlys and company.

[00:17:57.590] - Marlys Arnold

(laughing) Oh, I love it. I love it. That's my first time interviewing a Muppet celebrity. So. So Chris says in the circles, Amanda says on the blue picture.

[00:18:09.620] - Ramon Ray

All right, I saw Chris's first Marlys. So if there's a problem that you're community is going to be mad at you, not me. I'll be gone, too. So, Chris, who is it? Chris I will send you ...

[00:18:20.060] - Marlys Arnold

Actually actually I just realized some of these are popping in. I don't know. They're out of order now. So now I see. Rama said she found the hidden Mickey five minutes ago.

[00:18:30.140] - Ramon Ray

Rama. So I'm the judge and jury, it's all yours. Just email me. Marlys can help you do that or you can find me online. I will send you a copy. It's all yours.

[00:18:39.440] - Marlys Arnold

And Chris says Ernie sounds like Elmo.

[00:18:44.330] - Ramon Ray

Yeah, I'll make sure ...

[00:18:47.230] - Marlys Arnold

You know, I think I think as far as Muppets, they're most all of them are voiced by about the same person. Or maybe ...person, I think at the beginning wasn't Jim Henson, the voice of all of them.

[00:18:57.200] - Ramon Ray

Probably was, indeed.

[00:18:59.360] - Marlys Arnold

So, yeah, we're all showing our age. We all grew up with the Muppets. So we're waiting for Statler and Waldorf to appear on here, too.

[00:19:10.290] - Ramon Ray

What a fun show.

[00:19:10.290] - Marlys Arnold

But. All right, let's see. So anything else you want to share? We kind of we kind of went all over the place here with some of our tips, but any other points that are really important? That you think we've missed so far?

[00:19:22.790] - Ramon Ray

Yeah, regarding digital charisma, I think, listen, just be yourself. I can't be you. You can't be me talking to the amazing Amanda. Chris, Roma, Tim and so many others here, we just have to be who we are. But I do think it's important that all of us do our best to just level up. Nobody wants to talk in a monotone voice. Right. That's just kind of a no no. Nobody wants that aspect of boredom where your putting people to sleep. That's kind of a no no. You do want to look in the camera and have your area well lit. Once you get that right, the rest you'll figure out. And we all have different. Some people speak more in depth than I do. Right. I happen to be a short to the point person. So those are a few tips and it's just been. Thank you very much, Alan. It's been great to be here. And as Alan puts there, if I can help anybody, inspire you, you can find me out at And Marlys, what a great show. I loved your news and tips at the beginning. That was really cool. That was baller.

[00:20:10.190] - Marlys Arnold

Thanks, Ramone. Yeah, well, it was great to have you on because it's always fun to have a fellow podcaster because we all have so many things that we can share and ideas. And it's just it I think that there's so much potential for people. And like Ramon said, you don't have to have expensive equipment. You don't have to have a professional broadcasting background. But there really are a lot of simple things that you can do to up level your game. And I think as we go forward, even though we're going to get back to live events, I think that having that digital presence and that digital charisma is really going to serve you well. And there's so much there's so many ways to use it. Even in a face to face world, there's all kinds of video marketing opportunities. So, Ramon, thank you so much. I really appreciate you being here today. This was a lot of fun and definitely probably about the most laughs we've had on any virtual lunch so far with Ernie's appearance and everything.

[00:21:09.830] - Ramon Ray

We have to, but Marlys, thanks for having me. Pleasure to be here. And I love your community. I love what you're doing. All the best to what you're doing. Thank you.

[00:21:21.730] - Marlys Arnold

You can find all the links mentioned during our interview in this episode, show notes at And if you'd like to join us for an upcoming virtual lunch, you'll find info on that at ExhibitMarketersCafe.Com/lunch.

[00:21:48.120] - Marlys Arnold

If you enjoyed today's episode and would like more, you can subscribe to the podcast and automatically receive future episodes on your chosen device, simply search for Trade Show Insights in Apple, Spotify, Stitcher or virtually anywhere else that podcasts are found. Then click the subscribe button. Trade Show Insights is protected by the Creative Commons copyright license, you may feel free to share this recording with colleagues or embedded on your own blog as long as it's shared in its entirety and is not used for commercial purposes.

[00:22:22.880] - Marlys Arnold

To learn more, please see the link in the sidebar. The show notes at Well, that's it for this episode of Trade Show Insights. Be sure to check out our show notes and Archives at You can also connect with me using the social media links or the contact page on the site. I'm Marlys Arnold. Thanks for listening and be sure to join us next time for more tools to improve your exhibit results.


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