We spend our entire lives communicating with each other, from business emails to PowerPoint presentations, from phone calls to loved ones to posts on Snapchat, and from making a motion in a chapter meeting to having that heart-to-heart talk with your brother during a tough time.

I’ve been lucky enough to have spent my entire life as a professional communicator, working on print and electronic publications, websites and social media channels. Through it all, I’ve learned a few lessons:

  • Know your audience.
  • Meet them where they want to be met.
  • Give them what they expect.
  • Then, always give them more.

That last one is the key. All the top communicators—the greatest writers, the best broadcasters, the amazing public speakers, the brilliant designers, filmmakers and animators—started out by hitting those first three items with excellence, then making their real mark by the “more” they gave, that personal touch that vaulted them into distinction.

What is that “more”? Winston Churchill inspired his nation, then the world to stand against horrible evil through the power of his words. Illustrator Norman Rockwell held up a mirror to his readers and showed them their own charms and foibles. Designers Ray and Charles Eames injected playful whimsy into industrial and home design. The words of agrarian essayist Wendell Berry remind us of what we need to do to be a complete human being.

I believe you can discover your own “more” through our brotherhood in Phi Kappa Tau. You should infuse your communications with our Cardinal Principals. We have high standards tied to those principals, and each can be directly applied to communications. They will steer your words and lead you to distinction, which each of you will find in your own way.

With this latest iteration of the Laurel, while we don’t aspire to Churchill, we do want to serve you and give you more than you’d expect. And in return, we hope to inspire you to communicate clearly, truthfully and in a way that, in turn, will inspire others.