Improve Your IQ (Interprofessional Quotient)—Be A Better Communicator

Posted by National Association of Charitable Gift Planners on Jun 9, 2015 1:53:49 PM

In a series of posts, we’re considering “Core Competencies for Collaborative Interprofessional Practice” for philanthropic planning.

View the previous post in this series here

The interprofessional competencies we suggest originated in the healthcare field, as an attempt to transform education and prepare students in all the healthcare specialties for “deliberatively working together with the common goal of building a safer and better patient-centered and community/population oriented U.S. health care system.”


As noted in the first post of this series, a paradigm shift toward interprofessionality also sounds like a good move for philanthropic planning. The third of four core competencies for interprofessional practice deals with communication.

Communication competencies are called upon from the moment professionals prepare to work collaboratively. The process starts with communicating a readiness to work together, including simply being available in place, time, and knowledge, as well as being receptive through displaying interest, engaging in active listening, conveying openness, and being willing to enter into discussion.

Professional hierarchies within and among the advising professions are common, but they can create dysfunctional communication patterns working against effective interprofessional teamwork. All team members are responsible for speaking up in a firm but respectful way when they have concerns about the quality of advice being given to a donor or client. However, preconceived notions about an advisor’s motives or expertise can block communication channels and keep professionals from sharing their expertise across professional lines more generally. Learning to give and receive timely, sensitive, and instructive feedback with confidence helps advisors improve their teamwork and team-based planning.

Learning to work together to communicate and information that may be complicated and emotionally charge with donor/clients, their families, and their trusted advisors requires openness, understanding, and an ability to convey messages in a sensitive and respectful manner.  Specific interprofessional communication competencies include:

  • Choose effective communication tools and techniques, including information systems and communication technologies, to facilitate discussions and interactions that enhance team function.
  • Organize and communicate information with donors/clients, families, and the advisor team members in a form that is understandable, avoiding discipline-specific terminology when possible.
  • Express one’s knowledge and opinions to planning team members with confidence, clarity, and respect, working to ensure common understanding of information and options.
  • Listen actively, and encourage ideas and opinions of other team members.
  • Give timely, sensitive, instructive feedback to others about their performance on the team, responding respectfully as a team member to feedback from others.
  • Use respectful language appropriate for a given difficult situation, crucial conversation, or interprofessional conflict.
  • Recognize how one’s own uniqueness, including experience level, expertise, culture, power, and hierarchy within the team, contributes to effective communication, conflict resolution, and positive interprofessional working relationships.
  • Communicate consistently the importance of teamwork in advising donors/clients of all their options for charitable planning.

Access a FREE resource from the National Conference on Philanthropic Planning, below: 

Build Your IQ- NCPP Resource CTA

“The New Science of Building Great Teams,” Alex Pentland, Harvard Business Review, April 2012. Download Now >>

Topics: philanthropy, General, Leadership, Teamwork