Trends of the Trade is a monthly column written by WWPR member Cory Churches exploring, well, trends in PR.Follow her @Coricita or reach her at

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Washington Women in Public Relations

In this season of graduation speeches and life advice for emerging youth leaders, there is an overflow of “words to live by”. From  Steve Case at UNC to  Joss Whedon at Wesleyan University, inspirational words are conveyed to graduates and non-graduates alike.  Case lists his three Ps: people, passion and perseverance, while Whedon tells his audience to pay attention to contradiction and see things from a different perspective. What you absorb and implement can have a great impact on not just your personal life but also your career path, your interactions with colleagues, and your choice of future employers.

Even the most erudite professionals know that you never stop learning.  Tapping new sources for new ways of thinking, approaching business, and interacting with colleagues and clients is a great way to stay on top of trends and continually refresh your approach to your chosen profession.

Written in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People has been on the shelf of aspiring business leaders since its publication.  Many of those lessons are still applicable today. Books, podcasts, networking events, and paid workshops are ever present and teach you the latest skills to stay attuned to the most effective ways to reach clients and influence people.

But which ones are really worth your time? As  Washington Women in PR prepares to evaluate the latest crew of nominees for the Emerging Leaders Awards, it’s worth taking some time to review some influencers and resources that can help propel aspiring communicators to become tomorrow’s leaders and game changers.

Obviously we each have different interests and drivers but one thing we do have in common is our interest in communicating and reaching an audience.  Evaluating what inspires you to do your best work is a great place to start this exercise.  Determining your “personal brand” is akin to evaluating your value proposition and again, what inspires you.

Tapping into  mentors in your organization or during events such as WWPR’s Minute Mentoring event in April helps you learn from the experience of others and put these life lessons to work.

I subscribe to Fast Company as a way to keep tabs on trends in business, design, technology and communications. Articles are timely, topical and offer insight into business trends and creative innovation.

I find authors such as Chip and Dan HeathDan Pink and Malcom Gladwell universally appealing regardless of your industry. The information they impart make you think, stretch your imagination, and maybe help you conceive of a new way to approach a problem or make a decision.  Pink, in his book A Whole New Mind, touts design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning as the six essential aptitudes on which professional success and personal fulfillment now depend.  Business Insider has an interesting list of their  top 15 thought leaders in marketing.  I encourage you to take a look and see who strikes your fancy.

TED speakers and seminars are also great sources of inspiration and innovative ideas. Some of my favorites are Jill Bolte Taylor’s Stroke of Insight and Oliver Sacks’ talk about hallucinations, Hans Rosling: Stats that reshape your worldview and Susan Cain:  The power of introverts but there are many others.

So in the end, take to heart the information and advice you glean from influencers and game changers, and figure out what inspires you.  As you incorporate more information and tap into your inspiration, you will end up doing more of what you love to do and we will all be better for your efforts!