How to Speed Date: 21 Tips

How to Speed Date: 21 Tips

Some people love it, most people hate it but is a great way to practice meeting lots of people in a no-pressure situation. I find the events to be filled with attractive and outgoing women matched with shy and socially awkward guys. If you can break out of your shell, guys actually have an advantage here because so few try it. First the basics…

How Does Speed Dating Work?

There are different methods but typically you’re going to choose a speed dating event based on an age range and a theme. Something like 23-35 year old young professionals or 29-39 Jewish singles is typical. Unlike online dating where you can screen a profile for things you like, all these singles will have in common is a general age range and possibly an interest so your chances of hitting it off are already lower.

They’re going to tell you come early to mingle but people show up late, so it probably won’t get started on time. The women will sit at numbered tables and the guys will rotate around in 5, 7, or 12 minute intervals. You’ll have a score card to write down each person you meet’s name, some notes, and whether you’re interested in talking to them again. Depending on the event, you’ll either enter who you want to meet on a website that night or at the event. Shortly afterwards you’ll get a list of everyone who said they were also interested in meeting you with a phone number and/or email address.

Plan to stay afterwards if you can to meet the people you didn’t catch in your rotation and follow-up on your favorites.

So Why The Heck Would I Bother With Speed Dating?

If you think about the last couple dates you went on, they likely took a lot of time, effort, and expense to execute.  Although you are meeting a wider range of people, it’s quick, cheap, and you don’t have to deal with flake outs. Even if you don’t meet anyone you like, you still got practice at introducing yourself and flirting. Unlike a crazy dance club or first date, these mini-dates are lower pressure because no one is going to directly reject you.

 What Should I Do Before I Arrive?

  • Dress up or dress distinctively.  More than any other date, you’re going to be instantly judged by what you wear so wear something that attracts the type of people you like.
  • Loosen up. Do whatever you need to do to stop feeling like a nervous and flustered mess. Most people take a shot.
  • Get yourself in a good mood. Nothing is less attractive than a date that frowns and complains about their day. Even if you day was awful, leave those feelings behind and go in positive.

What Should I Do When I Get There?

  • Find the host. You’re going to need to check-in and get a name tag. If you’re writing your own name tag, make it legible! If you have a common first name, include your last initial, there may be more than one “Jamie” there.
  • Tell the host what you’re looking for. The host is paid to make sure the event is successful. They’ll gladly introduce you to someone across the room or whatever else they can do (within reason). Just don’t tell them you’re there to get laid.
  • Go to the bathroom now. You will typically have an intermission in the middle of the event but you’re going to want to spend that time chatting up other singles. Now is also a good time to check if you have anything in your teeth.
  • Don’t just sit at your table waiting for things to start. They typically start late anyway, so hang out at the bar and try to say hello to as many people as possible.
  • Stand up straight. Everyone wants to date someone taller and skinnier. Standing up straight will make you both. Make sure to keep your posture upright when you sit down with each date too. A straight back will make you look more confident and attractive.
  • Put your phone away! Nothing is less sexy than a guy checking his email during the event. Put the phone away and on vibrate.

What Should I Do On the Speed Dates?

  • Ask interesting questions. Everyone is going to ask about your profession and hobbies. Try opening with something unique. Try one of my 30 first date questions.
  • Give interesting answers. Be prepared for the standard career and hobby questions with unique answers that are memorable. So instead of telling her you’re a computer security analyst for a financial firm and play Halo, tell her you’re a corporate hacker who really loves french cooking and landscape photography.
  • Smile and look like you’re having a good time. A genuine smile goes a long way.
  • Appear relaxed and confident. Even if you’re scared out of your mind, make it look easy.
  • Keep it high energy. The venue might get loud so you need to speak up. Keep your energy high and look excited to be there.
  • Tell her/him what you’re looking for. You’re not going to have time to dance around this topic so be as direct as you can.
  • Really listen. We’re a culture starving to be listened too. We’re counting our likes on Facebook just to see if anyone is listening. Give your date your full and total attention. Don’t think of anything besides what she or he is saying. Don’t look around the room. Look straight into her eyes and repeat what she is saying to yourself over and over again. Don’t just wait for your turn to talk.
  • Use good body language. Lean forward, don’t cross your arms, don’t rest your head on your hands. Keep your posture open and directed straight at him.
  • Aim for friendship, not a one-night stand. Confidence, some honest flirtation, and good conversation will get you to the next date. Aggressive sexual advances may get a drink thrown in your face.
  • Don’t get drunk. Sloppy behavior will waste your time and might even get you thrown out.

What Should I Do After the Speed Dates?

  • Stay at the bar. You’ll be able to follow up with people you met briefly and catch anyone you missed. (Depending on the size of the event you may not meet everyone in your rotations.)
  • Don’t just chat with the friend you brought. If you’re tempted, separate from each other so you can’t form an impenetrable conversation fortress.

I Still Need Help!

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Photo by Michael Crane.

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