04/21/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Lost Art of Thank You

About eight years ago, when I signed one of my first licensing deals, the owner of the company called me right after I left. He said, "Heidi, I wasn't sure if I was going to sign with you, but you sent me a thank you note after our meeting. In over 10 years in business I have never had someone send me a thank you note. That was what tipped the scales."

Over the years, I've come to appreciate the words "Thank you". They are both powerful and simple words; a perfect way to acknowledge someone's positive impact on your life.

It was because of a 'Thank you' -- that I started Built on Respect and now dedicate every resource I have to it. I blog about it from time to time because I am constantly amazed at what a profound impact "Thank you" has on me every time I hear it.

There are verbal 'Thank yous' -- and then there are the written kind. Over the years, I have received several thank you notes. I save them -- and years later, when I find them they still have the same effect -- they make me smile. A thank you note is like a small surprise in your mailbox. Among all the anonymous bills and junk mail -- it is fun to see a small envelope of thanks. There is a personal connection and an unavoidable smile that comes across your face as you read the message. You can for a moment, feel the satisfaction that you did something to impact someone else in a positive way.

Today, I think, we spend much more time pointing out what is wrong and writing critical emails... brows furrowed in a personal quest for victory.

I just participated in the International Campaign for Tibet's "Thank President Obama" campaign
and was reminded that it takes more muscles to frown, than smile. I found myself smiling as I wrote the note. I found myself thinking, "Do other advocacy groups send thank you letters -- or do they just send complaints?"

I have always believed in the power of 'Thank you' -- and I hope that others will join me in taking a minute to thank President Obama for meeting with HH the Dalai Lama. It may be his job, but it never hurts to take a moment, and say thank you.

Here is an excerpt from ICT's email today:

Today's White House meeting between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and President Obama adds considerable momentum and energy to our work.

Reuters reported yesterday that Tibetans living near the birthplace of the Dalai Lama in northwest China welcomed today's meeting with a defiant show of fireworks. The article quotes several Tibetans in the region, including a monk named Johkang:

"My heart is filled with joy," said Johkang, showing off an enormous smile, standing at his monastery in this arid and mountainous part of the Qinghai province, which lies next to the official Tibet Autonomous Region.

"It is so important for us that this is happening, that the U.S. has not given in to threats and will meet our leader," added the monk, who like many ethnic Tibetans goes only by one name.

Thank President Obama for meeting with the Dalai Lama.