As many as 70 percent of healthcare finance professionals who attended ANI: The HFMA National Institute would describe themselves as introverts, according to an informal poll taken Wednesday at ANI. How can healthcare finance professionals who feel uncomfortable in group situations or with public speaking break out of their shells and find success in highly visible positions? Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, and HFMA President and CEO Joe Fifer, who are both self-professed introverts, offered these strategies. 

Find time to yourself to reflect each day, particularly before making a big decision. “Sometimes, it’s difficult to find your quiet time [as an introverted leader]. I love my quiet time,” Fifer said. Giving yourself space to consider a decision before sharing it with the group is a sign of self-awareness and strength for introverts, Cain said. 

Pay attention to the physiological changes that you experience in high-profile situations. “Really pay attention to what your body does when you’re not feeling confident and also when you’re feeling relaxed,” Cain said. 

If public speaking makes you anxious, expose yourself to public speaking opportunities bit by bit. “If you expose yourself to the thing that you fear in small, manageable doses, eventually, the horror of it starts to go away,” Cain said. For Fifer, “Preparation is everything,” he said. “To have a thorough knowledge of the material takes that feeling [of anxiety] away.” 

Find a friend who will accompany you on clinical rounds. For example, in his former position at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Mich., “I could never feel comfortable going into a nursing unit by myself. I felt like a fish out of water,” Fifer said. Instead, he would ask the health system’s chief nursing officer to accompany him.

Publication Date: Wednesday, June 19, 2013