“Timing is everything” is a quote for a reason. And at the same time, I have been quoted saying, “give it time, things happen.”

Some of the most frequent questions I get are about timing.

How many times should I reach out without getting a response?

How frequently should I contact someone?

How long should I wait before reaching out?

How long is too long to reach out?
My answers:

My mom would tell you three times. I will say extend the amount of time between each reach out moving from a week to a month. If after three – give it a break and try again maybe three or six months down the road. Maybe it was just a busy time for them.

Ask them, it depends on the relationship and the reasons.

Again, don’t be afraid to ask.

No such thing as too long if you ask me!

The hardest part of reconnecting after a long time is how. Some ideas apply broadly so I shared them with Newsweek when they asked me to comment on their article, “How do you reconnect with unengaged customers?”

Some of the answers in the article 11 Tips for Reconnecting with Unengaged Customers may not apply to you but here are a few that can be applied broadly.

Offer Value. One of the easiest reasons to reconnect is to offer something that may be valuable to them. Introductions, invitations, and information are three ways to add value. Think about what may be needed or of interest based on what you know about them. The easiest way to add value is simply to acknowledge or appreciate something they did, accomplished, or posted. Recognition is always welcomed.

Show Interest and Genuinely Check-In. Sometimes it’s best not to overthink it. If you genuinely want to reconnect with someone, just say so. I have started many an email with “You just popped into my mind” or “It has been way too long.” I then give a brief update and pose a question to get the conversation restarted. Commenting and congratulating are also easy reentry topics.

Create Opportunities. Want to reconnect? Offer opportunities. Whether it’s letting someone know about an upcoming event or suggesting an appearance on a podcast, everyone loves to be invited to the party. Create an opportunity to learn or connect with other people. When you connect through an opportunity, you both win. The next time you learn about a webinar, shoot a message to someone you’d like to connect with. See if they’d join you. Who wouldn’t respond to that email?

It can be incredibly discouraging to reach out and get no response. Don’t worry, it happens to everyone. Remember, there are times when you haven’t gotten around to it either. Make it OK that they didn’t respond by letting them off the hook with, “I hope things are not as busy these days.” If you want to reconnect with someone – it’s never too late. Simply own the delay. I have admitted to just finding their card on my desk and realizing that I never followed up. It may not work every time, but you will reconnect more by trying.