CNN Talent Coach Lenny Bourin has been called a Svengali by senior management in the news business for his abilities to help anchors and reporters be their best on camera.
His techniques were on full display last Wednesday, Feb. 20, when he came to visit Prof. Sissel McCarthy’s Studio News Production class.
Bourin told students sitting in the anchor chair for the first time to think of themselves as pilots.
“You’re the voice from the cockpit … and the most important thing is to be authoritative and conversational at the same time,” said Bourin, an award-winning journalist who spent most of his career as a producer at ABC News.
As students took turns at the news desk in the fourth floor studio, Bourin gave each pair of anchors a pep talk about appearing natural and authentic.
“Try loosening up before you go on the set — stretch gently, move your neck, head and shoulders around. Loosen up your tongue and drink slightly warm water to loosen up your vocal cords,” Bourin said.
Students learned the most important thing for a good delivery is preparation. Bourin told them to learn everything they can about their stories and go through their copy carefully, looking for words or names that could trip them up.
“Don’t be shy about asking for help with a word, phrase or name,” Bourin said. “Most importantly, if you make a mistake, just keep going unless it’s a big mistake and then just say, ‘that should be’ and make the correction.”