You have three to eight minutes to snare a date. What's a girl to do? For starters, relax. Women actually have more power in the speed dating arena. Why? Well for one thing, research shows they're more selective about their dates than men. (I know, thank you, Professor Obvious.) Still, research has some good tips to offer for the speed dating process.
In a Stanford study, researchers found that people do develop real connections with people when speed dating and those connections are dependent on several factors. It's important for men to listen, focus on the woman's concerns in conversation and show enthusiasm. Men should be careful about asking questions that connect to what the woman is saying, avoiding random questions just to fill the space. Guys, that means you need to be engaged and understanding in order to get picked.
Professor Obvious speaks again on speed dating findings for women: be attractive, less ambitious and no more intelligent than your partner. But if women are the "deciders" in speed dating, there's no real gain to be had by dumbing down is there? Instead, be your charming, ambitious, intelligent, attractive self (always my recommendation). You might want to try a speed dating group that's not too large. As with shopping, too many choices is overwhelming and tends to result in fewer dates—or shoes—as the case may be.
Men and women can benefit from research on salespeople. Talk, but not too much. Listen, but not to the point that you seem like you have nothing to say. Show your understanding and engagement by monkey see monkey do. If he/she sits up straight, do the same. If he/she touches, return the touch.
One of the benefits of speed dating, especially if you're new to the dating scene, is that you don't have to experience face-to-face or phone-to-phone rejection. It's just computer rejection when your list matches (or doesn't) with theirs. This is a good way to get your feet wet. For those who can't quite accept the online dating idea, speed dating is a bit of a compromise. It's not like a traditional "friend of a friend" date, but it's also not a totally virtual "are you an axe murderer?" experience.
Think about what you want to get out of the speed dating. Whether you're doing it for fun, an experiment, a good time, to meet interesting people, or to find Mr. or Ms. Right, it's not about the numbers.
But it never hurts to put your best foot forward, armed with a few good tips and a great pair of shoes.