For some, the idea of networking conjures images of digging through your bag for a crumpled business card or going in for an awkward handshake. But before you flake on that industry happy hour, listen to the empowering wisdom of Kathryn Minshew, CEO of The Muse, who reminds us that the rules of networking are the same rules that help us connect with people everywhere.

Networking isn't just for robotic businessmen and women looking to make a deal. In fact, since 91% of business cards are thrown away by recipients within one week, the key to successful networking is forming genuine, lasting relationships. And with 70% of jobs found through networking, these connections are a great way to learn about new career opportunities. As Minshew points out, it's best to approach networking as an opportunity to talk to fascinating people about what motivates them, where they find inspiration, and what excites them about your industry. With 51% of employed workers either actively seeking or open to a new job, most people are eager to make valuable connections.

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In this video, Kathryn walks you through the professional benefits of growing your network and connecting with knowledgeable mentors. She also offers suggestions for networking through things like book clubs, sports teams, or volunteering. If you stay open-minded, it's easy to have meaningful, rewarding conversations with total strangers, whether you meet them at a conference or a trivia night. And since people are twice as likely to get an interview at a company through a referral than any other channel, that total stranger could seriously hook you up in the long-term.

For more advice on developing career confidence, hop in the comments, because Kathryn is here to answer all your networking questions.

Now that you have the tools to grow your professional life, contact your local State Farm agent for guidance on how to protect it.

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Kristina Loring is an independent radio producer, writer, and digital strategist living in San Francisco. She loves exploring the hidden design in cities and riding a bicycle away from tech epicenters toward the sea.

This post is a sponsored collaboration between State Farm and Studio@Gawker.