Steps to Networking – Step 95: Accelerated dating

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 19th, 2010

STEP 95: Accelerated dating

Networking has always been an integral part of dating. How many millions of people met their sweethearts through being “fixed up” on blind dates? Introductions, referrals and matchmaking are natural and time-honored practices for bringing single people together. Books, plays, movies and music celebrate them. And in this age when both women and men are swamped by busy, unrelenting, fast-tracked careers, dating has become a major industry.

Dating services are now a part of the landscape, they are everywhere, they proliferate. They come in every size, shape and form. They’re in every city and all over the Internet. Virtually all of these services utilize some form of networking, connecting people in order to create meaningful relationships. One of the most interesting approaches is fast dating.

Accelerated dating, which is also known by other similar names including speed, fast, quick or express dating, is a matchmaking technique that was developed to facilitate rapid connections between single people and members of the opposite sex. In one evening, a single can meet and hold a number of uninterrupted conversations people who are looking to enter into in romantic relationships. In many ways, these conversations are nothing more than interviews to see whether the other is worthy of another shot.

Although multiple variations of fast dating exist, the following generally outlines how the process works.

A group of unmarried women and men gather at a restaurant, recreation center or other meeting room to meet and talk with one another. The group can have certain common denominators such as religion, ethnic background, interests, backgrounds and careers. Each group consists of an equal number of men and women. However, since more females tend to sign up, they may have to wait for a several sessions before there is an opening for them to participate. Those who attend pay an admission charge and the size of each group can vary.

The rooms where participants meet are usually set up with numbered tables. In most cases, the tables seat two, but occasionally they seat four. Each woman is assigned to a table for the evening. Each participant is given a form listing the names of the participants and a place to indicate whether he/she would like to see that person again.

The proceedings start when, at a given signal, each of the men goes to a separate table to conduct a one-on-one conversation with the woman assigned to that table for the evening. The host organizations usually suggest that the participants keep conversations light and avoid probing deeply into relationships or personal matters. Instead, they are encouraged to discuss their interests, families and where they live. Work and career can also be discussed broadly. Typical questions included what do you like to read, what movies do you like and what do you do weekends? Some host organizations provide suggested topics to help break the ice? During conversations, the level of intensity is deep.

After a set time, which can vary from three to fifteen minutes, a signal sounds. The signal directs the men to move to the next table where another woman is waiting. Depending on the size of the group, it can take two to three hours to go through the room and meet all of the men or women.

After each visit, both parties indicate on the form whether they would like to see that person again. At the end of the evening, the forms are collected by the host organization and correlated. If a man and woman both indicate on the form that they would like to see each other again, the host organization informs them both and gives them the other party’s telephone number. The host organization usually provides this information within two or three days.

Action steps

1. Provide three examples of how you could adapt the concept of recommended meeting lists to enhance your networking efforts.

2. Identify four places or events where you could practice remembering names.

3. List three ways that you could accelerate your networking.

4. Create up with three inventive ways to facilitate networking.

(Excerpted from NETWORKING MAGIC: Making Connections That Will Change Your Life By Rick Frishman and Jill Lublin With Mark Steisel)

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