Throughout the business community, ambitious individuals who work in highly competitive environments know the impression they give in their business communications often makes the difference between career failure and success.
When you make the following grammar mistake, you will sound less intelligent than you actually are. Effective communication, both in speaking and writing, make an important and significant impression. Most likely, your English teacher gave you the following advice. In case you have forgotten, here is two of three business communication tips to improve the impression you make to your prospects, clients, and senior executives.
Tip #2 – Be Wise with Who and Whom
To know which to use, substitute “he” for “who” (both end with a vowel) and “hiM” for “whoM” (both end with M) while you figure out what is acting on what.
I know he paid him.
I know who paid whom.
Even people who master this trick can get confused when who/whom is used in a question. Simply turn the question around into a statement and follow the above rule.
To who/whom are you speaking?
STATEMENT: You are speaking to he/him. (Correct choice is “him,” so you’ll substitute “whom.”)
Who/whom ya gonna call?
STATEMENT: Ya gonna call he/him. (Even Dan Aykroyd could get it right in Ghostbusters.)
“Whom” almost always follows a preposition, those words that transfer action from one thing to another. Words like to, from, for, in, and out.
My wish is you found these grammar tip practical, educational, and entertaining. Written and verbal communication should never be boring. Before you send that intelligent-sounding email, letter, or proposal, remember to check it at least once for grammar and spelling errors. My executive clients tell me they continue to be surprise by obvious mistakes in many of the corporate communications they receive.
Here is a bonus tip…you may want to have a secret weapon as I do! Get a Grammar Granny! In my case, it is Fripp editor and author Eleanor Dugan.
Whether you own a business, report to a boss, or search for a job, it is important to sound intelligent in all your corporate communication. Never underestimate the power of your words.
Words and correct grammar give you a competitive edge!
Patricia Fripp is an award-winning keynote speaker, San Francisco-based executive speech coach, and sales presentation skills trainer.