There's an excellent post on Design*Sponge
today about networking (it's aimed at designers, but the informations is quite general). In it, guest poster Sara Rosso identifies four types of networkers:
is curious and very up-to-date, and spends a great amount of time consuming and filtering information. They will be the first ones to tell you about a new idea or resource or tell you if someone else is already doing it.
is an expert in a particular subject or subjects with in-depth knowledge at their fingertips and can serve as a source or give an expert opinion when needed.
is well-connected with other people and groups. Maybe this person doesn’t have any direct answers for you, but they probably know the right person who does, and is willing to pass along your need/request to help you get an answer.
is generous with their time, information and opinions and can serve as a person to give you excellent feedback across a variety of subjects. They are interested in helping your cause, teaching you something, or giving feedback on something you’re working on, and they are generous contacts to have.
Some people are going to be all four, or a combination of a few, or just one type of networker. What type are you? Knowing this may help you focus on and develop those skills, and make you more comfortable in networking situations.
And of course, knowing what type the people are in your network will help you figure out who to call when you're looking for specific information.