You may be hesitant to try speed dating because you think you can’t learn much in five to seven minutes about someone, or because you feel uncomfortable trying to express yourself in such a short period of time. But if you go into speed dating with a positive attitude and the right perspective, you can have a great time and break the ice in less than no time.
1. Pay Attention to Your Appearance
The evening is designed to be fun and relaxed, but your first impression will inevitably be how you look. Women, dress in something you would wear on a great evening out with friends – attractive, fun and not too seductive. Men, don’t show up in jeans and a tee-shirt – take it up a notch. Remember, every single at the event will be meeting dozens of other men and women – looking great will make you stand out from the crowd.
2. Smile and Relax
The simplest speed dating tips to remember are sometimes the most important – like putting the person you’re talking to at ease. How do you do this? Smile and relax! An honest, open smile will help the people you meet more comfortable. Be aware of your own nervous habits, too. Don’t tap your fingers or feet constantly – others will key in on it as either nerves or boredom.
3. Watch Your Body Language
Slouching is no good; neither is crossing your arms across your chest. These will give the impression of being either (again!) bored or defensive. If you lean forward slightly, you’ll convey interest. Keep you hands free and on the table. Gesturing some during conversation is fine and can help you make a dynamic point, but don’t flail about.
4. Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol
You want to be on your best behavior and completely focused. Alcohol will dull your wits and your attention, which is fatal in speed dating, when you’re trying to learn as much as you can quickly. There’s also the chance you’ll do or say something stupid – ouch! You don’t want to ruin your chances in seven minutes or less.
5. Keep the Conversation Flowing
Ask open-ended questions when starting conversations; it will keep the conversation flowing. Asking, “where do you work?” doesn’t give the other person much to work with. Asking, “What’s your favorite childhood memory?” or “Who would you most like to meet in the world?” will naturally lead to discussions of why and comparing notes for the two of you.
6. Focus on the Other Person
This is probably one of the most important speed dating tips. Focus the conversation on learning more about the person you’re sitting across from than on advertising yourself. Everyone enjoys talking about things they’re passionate about. Find out what the person’s passion is, and ask questions that will draw them out.
7. Follow up Without Pressure
You’ll receive contact information for people you expressed an interest in who felt the same way. Send a short, friendly email to let them know you enjoyed meeting them and thanking them. Don’t send a novel and don’t pester them if they don’t answer within a few hours or even the same day. The person may be genuinely interested, but very busy, so give them a few days to respond.
8. Have Fun!
Don’t make each speed date a test or challenge. Simply look at it as an opportunity to meet lots of interesting people and make some new friends. If you do these simple speed dating tips, you’ll find yourself enjoying the evening for its own sake. If a few dates come out of it, they will be a wonderful bonus.
Keeping these speed dating tips in mind will make your first speed dating experience more relaxing and help you put your best foot forward. Good luck and happy dating!