Date: 16th Nov 05
Five to seven minutes does not seem like a awful lot of time and believe me, it isn't. On most normal timed first dates you would still be exchanging pleasantries and ‘umming' in the first few minutes. On a speed date, the one thing you don't have is the luxury of time. If you want to find someone through the speed dating system, you can't afford to be tongue tied. If you spend the allotted five minutes barely talking to the person in front of you, you'll never be able to identify the right people from amongst the ones you meet up in the span of one evening. What more, very few people will pick you as their match. No one wants to date someone who does not talk, is nervous or is plain boring.
The best way to maximize your potential matching at a speed dating event is to have at hand a list of questions and conversation starters to keep the conversation moving. This will help kill long silences and will enable you to click with the right guy or gal out there. We are not really recommending that you carry a sheet of paper with your questions neatly typed to the speed dating event, but do have them in your head and be ready to use them.
Information Oriented Questions Marion Fletcher, who runs a speed dating service, says 90% of people start with one of these two questions at a speed date without realizing that such information oriented questions are time killers. They fill up five minutes but do not help you get to know the person at hand any better.
“What do you do?”
It is almost natural to ask the person what they do and to tell them about your own job. While this question may be useful in pegging a person's social and professional status in your mind, it will reveal very little about their personality and their way of thinking. If you must know whether the person in front of you is a mechanic or a banker ask by all means, but don't let a professional discussion dominate your five minutes. Move on to other questions as fast as possible.
“Where do you live?”
Would it really help to know exactly which neighborhood they live in? Would it add to your knowledge if you were to know they have a room mate who works with them? This question is one that in all likelihood will get thrown back at you. Do you really think it is safe to reveal your address or neighborhood to someone you barely know?
Open Ended Questions As far as possible keep your questions open ended. Close ended questions, which a person can answer in a ‘yes' or a ‘no' don't fuel conversation. Nor do they tell you anything much about a person. Some good examples of open ended questions include:
"Have you ever been to ________?"
Ask them if they have ever been to a local spot that you enjoy. Maybe it's a club, restaurant, or amusement park. This is good conversation opener and will help you find out what kind of places they like to hang out at and what their concept of a fun place is.
"Where did you get that _______?"
Ask them about a specific piece of jewelry or clothing. This may help reveal more about their choice in clothes and jewelry, where and what kind of things they like to shop for and you may even get entertained by a story related to the piece under discussion.
Leisure activity related Questions Questions related to leisure time can be great conversation starters. They can also tell you a lot about the person's time out of work including what they like to do when they are free and how open they are to new experiences. It may also help you find common interests. Some good questions related to leisure activities are:
What was your favorite vacation?
This will tell you how often they vacation and what kind of a vacation they like. It will also reveal the places they head out to – congested tourist spots or isolated beaches.
What kind of Movies do you like?
Did they love the last action flick or did they cry their heart out watching the candy floss romance that hit the theatres last week? Do you have common ground in the kind of movies you watch?
Do you like Sports?
Both men and women like sports and if you are both enthusiasts of the outdoors, you could hit it off very well. You may even end up going to watch the same sports together. You may also hook up to go hiking, parasailing or jogging together.
Use these open ended questions to help keep the conversation going. The greater your interaction with a person in your limited time span, the more you will know about them. You will then confidently pick the right matches at the end of the event. At all points remember to go with your instincts, even when they can't be logically explained. If your instinct says you have a match, go ahead and take the plunge!
Written by Britney Holloway