Natalie Canavor unleashes the workplace genie

What do you get when you pair a writer with a hypnotherapist? It sounds like the opening line of a bad joke, but you get a cross-pollination that can help you relate better to bosses and co-workers, says Natalie (Rosenheck) Canavor ’63, who collaborated with psychotherapist and longtime friend Susan Dowell to write Workplace Genie (Skyhorse Publishing, 2017).

Relationships make or break jobs for most people, Canavor says, and people may leave a job because of conflicts only to see them recur in new surroundings. Places and faces change; the common thread is you.

“Negative patterns and self-concepts are often the problem and have a bigger hold on us than the positive,” Canavor says. “But we can learn to manage our emotions and interact with other people much more effectively.

“The book’s goal is to help readers understand how much power they have to eliminate the obstacles they put in their own way and take the lead to improve relationships. We show them how to see other people’s perspectives and tap into their inner resources.”

Some of the strategies are drawn from business communications and others from hypnotherapy. For example, the “empty chair” activity guides a participant through a conversation with a supervisor who is not actually present.

“Techniques like role reversal and visualization help us interact with people on a more authentic level,” Canavor says. “This isn’t about manipulating people into doing what you want. It’s about connecting with people in their own framework.”

Canavor, whose collection of published works includes the best-selling Business Writing for Dummies and the college textbook Business Writing Today, brings her own communications expertise to bear in Workplace Genie. While face-to-face interactions are key to building relationships, don’t forget how you express yourself on paper.

“When I was a magazine editor, I couldn’t believe how badly some people pitched their ideas, in writing and in person. I’m sure they had no idea how they came across. This book helps people think and communicate more strategically, so they can be more successful.”

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