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Let's say you are trying to build or expand your professional network. This means staying in touch with everyone. If you send emails too often, your contact will likely be annoyed and unwilling to help you. If you never send an email, you will be forgotten -- getting in touch when you need something will be awkward and will seem opportunistic.

What is the sweet spot? Once a month, once a year?

I guess that would depend on who it is: how well you know each other, and how important/busy this person is (maybe even how talkative this person is).

Is it possible to find "categories" of people with a given range of "emailability"? (e.g. outgoing manager -> twice a year)

Or even better, some kind of formula? (e.g. months = importance_rate - outgoing_rate - familiarity_rate)

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    This article is pretty much perfect - iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/… – enderland Apr 15 '15 at 16:07
  • @enderland Cool, I will check it out – user34104 Apr 15 '15 at 16:21
  • Note that I have had people contact me in almost the same formula as described in the link @enderland gave. I don't think I am a true sample of the population but to me it seemed creepy and robotic. The last time someone emailed me to "close the loop" I simply replied "OK, so?" I know that this may work but it will turn some off too. – blankip Apr 15 '15 at 18:52
  • This will really depend on the quality of the communication you are sending out. A "Hey I saw this neat article on <your interest>, I thought you might like to check it out" is way less intrusive than a "Just wanted to touch base and see how things are going." – Myles Apr 15 '15 at 21:28
  • Please tell me you are talking about sending them a genuine individual message, not some phony mass-mail 'update', possibly with a personalized salutation. If the latter, just don't do that. – smci Dec 26 '16 at 21:27
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  1. Contact them when you find something that you think will be truly useful to them. Don't, don't, don't spam your networking contacts! You don't want to be "that person".
  2. Contact them when you have something of substance that they can do for you, e.g. when you have a question that they are well-suited to answer or when you would like advice on a particular topic. If you make something up in order to ping your contacts, many of them will see through this and, once again, you'll be "that person".

Bottom line is that you're not networking to build x number of "contacts". Business networking and Facebook have nothing in common. You're networking to build meaningful relationships with people in order to help each other advance your respective careers. It's a mutually beneficial relationship when done right, and quite often doing it right means doing it over a long period of time. You wouldn't apply a "formula" to your personal relationships - don't try to apply one to your business relationships.

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