04/03/2012 10:45 am ET

Work It: How To Network Like A Dude

If you are a woman in an industry where a lot of networking and actual work gets done during one-on-one lunches, coffees, drinks and other things that really resemble dates, what are some ground rules for interacting with men? I've personally had problems getting the professional help of (usually older, usually married) men because they are very concerned about crossing or appearing to cross a line I have no interest in crossing either, and I have lots of friends who have had problems with the other type of guy who IS looking for something sexual while they are just trying to do their job.

Basically, and I guess this can be gender neutral, I want to know how to keep it strictly business when business meetings take place over cocktails at candlelit hotel bars.

Sigh. This world! Does everything just come down to Peggy and Don’s interactions in Mad Men? You know, a work relationship that was supposed to take place almost 50 years ago. (I mean... no? But sort of yes.)

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