Unless you’re a pilot, assessing your landing may not make a whole lot of sense. And while it may not make sense, or matter in terms of aerospace (unless you’re a passenger, of course), landings actually do matter in terms of human space.
The things that we say, and the manner in which we say them, have a very definite impact on other people. The question is: what kind of impact do they have? What kind of impact do you have? In other words, how do you “land” on other people?
Do you leave people feeling touched, moved, and inspired or do you leave them feeling hurt, angry, and upset? Do they feel like they’ve been heard and understood or do they feel as though they’ve been completely steamrolled by your agenda?
Are you aware of the impact you have on the people around you by the things that you say and the way in which you say them? Think about your co-workers, your clients, your friends, your kids, or the person sitting next to you at a ball game. It could be a 10-minute conversation or one that lasts for just 10 seconds.
Perhaps your landing is a smooth and gentle one. Maybe it’s a bit bumpy and uncomfortable. Or, as is the case with many of us, perhaps there’s so much turbulence that you compel people to “reach up and pull your oxygen mask down” in preparation for a crash landing.
Do you have any idea how you land on other people?
The easier question to answer might be this: do you have any idea how other people land on you? Sure you do! During the course of any single conversation, be it business or personal, you have a sense of how people leave you. Do they leave you feeling anxious when the flight is over, unbuckling your seat belt before the bell sounds and running for the nearest exit? Or, are you left requesting an application for the frequent flyer program with that particular colleague, friend, or family member?
My sense (er, my experience) is that we’re keenly aware of how other people leave us feeling, and far less aware of the emotional wake that we leave behind.
Landings matter. After all, the two most critical points in flying are the take-off and the landing.
So, take-off into the conversations that you want to have and that you need to have (and that you simply enjoy having). And no matter what it is that you have to say, know that everything you say has an impact.
It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say what needs to be said or that you should hold back from what you feel compelled to say. It means that all of us, every single one of us, welcomes and appreciates the feeling that comes from a smooth landing.
Make every day a good day for flying. And know that in matters of human space, there should be no need to fasten your seat belt. (Roger that, mission control.)