- On October 15, 2014
You might find rules that say it’s okay to use that with people or with terms like team and partner that denote people, but in business writing—where companies want to sound human—it’s best to use who when referring to people or entities made up of people.
Consider the difference between these two statements:
• We have security teams that are dedicated to keeping our customers’ accounts safe.
• We have security teams who are dedicated to keeping our customers’ accounts safe.
That and who are both correct, but who reinforces that the company is made up of people who put customers first.
I want to do business with that company.
Here are two more ways to humanize your writing:
Use the active voice; it automatically puts a person in the action. Consider the difference between:
• Our customers’ financial information isn’t stored.
• We don’t store our customers’ financial information.
Refer to things in human terms. In a recent New York Times article about an Interbrand report on the best global brands, Jez Frampton, the company’s global chief executive, talked about the dominance of the tech sector and the promise of the young tech brands on the list.
“The new tech brands are doing great,” he said, “and you have to consider they’re at the real beginning of their lives as businesses.”
And with that, I see companies on the brink of stardom.