Thousands of single folk take part in speed dating every month. There’s a very good reason of course – It’s a lot of fun and it's a great way of meeting people fast.
But once you’ve made the leap and decided to book your first Speed Dating event, what next? Once you’re there what do you do? What do you say? How do you act?
With this in mind, here are my top five tips for getting the most out of your first speed dating experience in London.
1) So, what do you do for work?
Interest is the key. 90% of people work to live. Their job does not define them. And yet almost all of us can find some part of our job that we enjoy. The trick is to leverage this question in order to find out more. Use whatever background knowledge you have to probe further.
And a major piece of advice – ALWAYS find out what they enjoy about it.
2) How do I respond?
It’s a dialogue, a conversation. Not an interview or interrogation. There is no need to divulge your inner most desires or fears. At the same time, yes/no responses come across as borderline psychopathic, particularly when coupled with an intense (nervous?) stare.
Answer in full sentences. Explain your answers. “I’m an xxx. I really enjoy it although it’s not all it’s cracked up to be” opens the conversation and lets your date ask more probing questions. It also helps them feel relaxed.
3) Where do I put my hands?
There are obvious answers to where not to put your hands of course. But body language makes up a significant part of communication.
Open hand gestures and an open body while facing the person show interest and make people feel relaxed and safe. It encourages other to talk. Holding your knees and crying, or folding your arms and scowling a good conversation maketh not.
But likewise, kicking back with both arms spread across the back of the chair, legs spread wide, suggests an ego so desperate to impress that substance abuse will be suspected.
4) True or false?
If you fancy having a playful night and think making something up for each date is witty and clever, perhaps think twice. It takes a lot of confidence to pull this one off. If you are going to do this then make sure it’s obvious you’re having a laugh otherwise people will think you’re a pathological liar.
If your hilarious story about getting drunk with Tom Hanks while training as an astronaut is failing miserably, acknowledge it. Apologise with a smile. Explain you were trying to have fun with the night and begin again.
5) Open questions
This is perhaps the most difficult skill to master. Particularly when you’re nervous. It also acts as the partner to answering with full sentences. Combine the two and voila, you’re a true conversationalist.
An open question is one that allows someone to answer expansively - In other words it avoids a yes/no response.
For example, instead of asking “Do you enjoy your job?” try “What is it about being an xxx that you enjoy most?”. Or “That sounds fascinating, tell me more.”
The more people talk about themselves the more relaxed they become.
So there we go. Five tips for your first speed date. I hope this helps and see you at our next event.
WORDS BY JOHN DAVIS