5 ways puns can inspire better communications

Punning is as old as the alphabet, and it can offer creative options for writers in the business world.

Rubber industry bounces back.

The rumors about sex orgies aboard the ship are all bunk.

Officer, that’s not jazz, I say, it’s felonious junk.

If you groaned at these examples, cited by John Pollack in his new book The Pun Also Rises, hold on just one minute.

Puns—often dismissed as the forte of New York Daily News headline writers and that awkward uncle you wriggled away from at Christmas gatherings—have an intellectual history as ancient as writing itself.

A form of wordplay so abiding deserves to be taken seriously by communicators, says Pollack, a former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and co-founder of ROI Communication. Puns are tools that can both amuse and instruct those striving to break free of the shackles of corporate-speak.

“Puns have the power to take people new places,” says Pollack, whose book debuts this week, “and wordplay in general has the power to take people new places. That’s why you see [puns] on the rise in business.”

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