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A picture says a thousand words, but does a picture that you can look at for 10 seconds or less really do the same thing? According to 100 million daily Snapchat users everywhere, yes. 

Snapchat launched in 2011 and was an instant hit for its disappearing photos. In an age of visual culture, and an age of “what goes on the internet stays on the internet,” Snapchat is the perfect fix. While the ghost logo is still socially relevant for youngsters, different businesses and organizations have begun using Snapchat as a platform for marketing, transparency, and information. 

The White House uses Snapchat to cover important events taking place within its walls, giving its followers a new take on the work of the administration, as well as including facts and information on important issues. 

Thinking of communicating with a Snapchat audience for business? Here are some tips to get you started: 

1. Identify your business's typical events and moments that are Snap-worthy.

Strategize your marketing end goal, and tailor your images and ideas to it. Brainstorm likely scenarios that your audiences will find interesting.  Snapchat often showcases videos or photos that are “behind the scenes.” This may include impromptu interviews and quick “tours.” This planning will help you recognize a “snap” moment when you see one.   

2. What is the deal with the Snapchat Ghost icon?

A handy feature on Snapchat is scanning the ghost logo anywhere it shows up, and automatically adding a friend. For example, if you wanted to add The White House using the ghost icon, open the app on your phone, go to the camera, and scan the @whitehouse ghost logo. You will have added them on Snapchat. Another way to add friends is to tap the ghost icon at the top of your screen, tap “Add Friends” and type in the handle manually.

Develop followers, advertise your newest marketing platform to your usual audience and then some. Often times, all it takes is knowing a company of interest has a Snapchat, and then being aware of the handle. 

3. Geofilters, stickers, tags - and puppy ears. Welcome to Snapchat.

Content can range from a funny picture of coworkers using your product, events in the office, or even Snapchat tutorials for using your product. You’ve got a 10 second limit per snap, so if you want to break your coverage into portions, you’ll have to be clear and concise. Simply take a picture or a video, tap your screen to add text, and then send.

An easy way to spice up your content is to use the tools in the upper right hand corner. You can illustrate with your fingers, add stickers, or change the size of your text. Furthermore, you can take advantage of swiping in either direction on your screen, adding a geofilter, which is typically an illustrated location tag, the time, or the temperature. 


Does your business use or plan to use Snapchat? Let us know!


 fresh or faked? usmagazine.comBy Steve Piacente, Executive Communications Coach

If you remember nothing else about the fireworks scandal of 2016, remember this: the days of getting away with it are over.

Those we know well, and even not so well - be they individuals, corporations or even revered public broadcast networks - better remember that social media has placed a powerful megaphone in the hands of anyone with a smart phone and internet access.

PBS was reminded of all this the other day after someone decided it would be best for viewers and patriotism to mix old and new Washington, D.C. fireworks footage in a supposedly live broadcast on Independence Day.

Viewers – thousands of them – quickly figured out what was going on. Their fuse was short and the bang was loud. “Only in DC could a PBS fireworks show become a scandal,” tweeted “thedcfloridian.”

PBS apologized, at first saying it was “the patriotic thing to do,” then adding it was trying to provide the best viewing experience possible on a wet, dreary night.

PBS ombudsman Michael Getler, as reported by and others, said the critics were right. "Why the producers and the on-camera hosts … could not take 10 seconds to say (or post on the screen) something like: 'To you folks out there around the country watching on television, the weather is not so good here on the nation's front lawn tonight and you can't see the fireworks very well, so we are going to show you clips from earlier displays …’ is, to me, sort of mind-boggling." 

And yet these lapses occur with astonishing frequency - at restaurants, during traffic stops, on airplanes, and in classrooms. Pick your venue. Odds are someone has done something dumb, offensive or clumsy, and someone else has recorded and posted it. 

Interestingly, the Washington Post says fireworks are “supposed to be beautiful” and PBS actually did the right thing.

Not the point. The point is that fakery is upsetting, especially when it comes from a trusted source. So:

1. Be credible. Losing or damaging your credibility will not only be embarrassing, it could also hurt the annual fundraising drive.

2. Be authentic. If you’re in the public eye, don’t assume you know what’s best for people. Explain your thinking before making unilateral decisions.

3. Be mindful. Remember that Twitter, Yelp, Instagram and a dozen others are only a few clicks away. And that reporters monitor and mine them for leads as much as they once chatted up the clerks at the county courthouse.

4. Be candid. Own your mistakes. Apologize (as PBS did), and quickly lay out the plan to avoid a similar mistake in the future.

As the smoke clears from the great fireworks snafu, it seems PBS has learned its lesson and will not suffer last damage. Or do you disagree?





Feet on hot coals / Donna AldridgeBy Steve Piacente, Executive Communication Coach

If you’re famous and ask people to storm across hot coals, odds are you could end up with burnt toes. And some bad publicity. Even a national news story or two. 

So it was the other day in Dallas for motivational speaker Tony Robbins, whose “Unleash the Power Within” seminars include the “fire walk,” intended to teach folks how to “turn fear into power.”

For those unfamiliar with Robbins, he is a best-selling self-help author with 2.81 million Twitter followers. More than 17 million have watched his TED talk, “Why We Do What We Do.” So, as with any celebrity, well-known CEO, or government official, when things go awry, TV trucks appear fast as ambulances.

Here’s how the principal and Team Robbins quickly cooled the crisis coals and ensured one hot night in Dallas didn’t turn into a multi-day story.

1 - They responded quickly, and set the record straight with confidence. Robbins’ organization told media outlets like CBS News, “In Dallas tonight, someone not familiar with the fire walk observed the event and called 911, erroneously reporting hundreds of people requiring medical attention for severe burns.”

2 - They doused fiery headlines by citing a single stat that put things in perspective. “Only five of 7,000 participants requested any examination beyond what was readily available on site.” (CNN, citing a Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman, said that of the more than 7,000 participants, at least 30 suffered minor foot burns. Five were hospitalized.)

3 - They stayed on message, citing pleasure at completing “another successful fire walk for 7,000 guests.” The walk has apparently been part of Robbins’ shtick for 35 years.

4 - They were prepared, both at the event, and for any negative PR. That is, trained medical personnel were on hand at the site just in case. And, Robbins spokeswoman Jennifer Connelly was ready afterwards with the company line.

"It is always the goal to have no guests with any discomfort afterwards, but it's not uncommon to have fewer than 1 percent of participants experience 'hot spots,' which is similar to a sunburn that can be treated with aloe," Connelly told CNN.

5 – Robbins leveraged third party allies on social media, at one point retweeting a column on Inc. that called the incident a “false alarm.”

Without getting into the wisdom of walking on hot coals – or its symbolic value – Robbins’ response demonstrated for anyone in the public eye the importance of being prepared, getting in front of a crisis, and delivering key messages with precision and clarity. Nothing turns a fire into ashes faster.

Any other thoughts on the Robbins rapid response team?





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