How Do You Introduce Yourself at Speed Dating?

We all know that first impressions count. And in a fast-paced world of lessening attention spans and swiping for love, they’ve never been more relevant. Introduce yourself at speed dating in a way that’s charming, genuine and memorable and you’ll have a great head start.

Read on to find out how to shortcut your way to getting noticed, prepare ahead of the night and win that second date.

How to introduce yourself at speed dating

There have been many different studies that monitor first impressions and the time it takes for someone to form an opinion of another person. And of course, the time frame may differ depending on the reason for the meeting - whether it’s business, romance or friendship. But on dates, the time you have to win them over may be significantly less than in other scenarios; as little as 27 seconds according to one survey. However, the good news is that this gives you ample time to introduce yourself and make them feel at ease.

The art of the introduction will stand you in good stead in all walks of life. It helps you feel and act less awkward and make you appear more confident (a quality that, incidentally, is almost universally deemed to be attractive).

How do you say hello on a first date?

A simple ‘hello’, ‘hi’, ‘nice to meet you’ or good evening’ with a ‘my name’s ..’ is your opener. If you have an unusual name you’ll need to be especially clear. Accompany your words with a warm smile and direct eye contact. In speed dating, there will be an expectation that you’ll get into the nitty-gritty quickly. So you can either pass a comment here or dive right in with a question. If it’s a first date scenario, you’re more likely to cover some niceties, like ‘how was your day?’, ‘did you find it ok getting here tonight?’ etc. These are better avoided in speed dating. Skip the small talk and get right into a good-natured funny comment, or an ice breaker.

Getting off on the right footing will encourage the other person to open up and feel at ease. An effective intro will help you to get the most out of speed dating and show you both in your best light.

How do you start a speed dating event?

One of the benefits of speed dating is that there’s a host in charge of the event. You don’t have to start or finish the night like you would with a traditional date. All you have to do is chat with each person for a few minutes. And there are no clunky endings, as the host will ring a bell when it’s time to move on.

You could begin each of your mini-dates with a little personal bio. This could be: ‘Hi there, I’m Amy, I’m 41 years old, I’m a marine biologist and I love collecting artisan whiskies. Tell me a bit about you!’. If you want to start like this, do so in a playful manner - it can feel unnatural otherwise. You could also start with your name and a single quirky fact about yourself. For example: ‘Hello, I’m David, nice to meet you. So, I’ve collected over 800 vinyl records. What’s your guilty pleasure?!’.

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First date greetings

Don’t worry if this doesn’t work for you. It’s a good way to stand out from the crowd, but it only works with certain personalities. If you’re shy, it can help to put the focus squarely on them. Paying a compliment is a useful technique to get the conversational juices flowing. The only drawback to complimenting your date is that it’s not something you can fully rehearse ahead of time.

A little bit of riffing will be required and you will need to be authentic in what you say - a one size fits all approach doesn’t work here, particularly as you’ll be overheard at speed dating. Telling each speed dater the same thing won’t get you brownie points and will actually make you seem disingenuous. Try to be specific rather than a generic ‘you’re looking lovely’. Scan their outfit for inspiration - maybe they’re wearing statement footwear or have a funky colour hair dye. Or perhaps there’s something that might nod to their interests or personality, such as theme jewellery or clothing with a slogan. Saying you like it and asking if there’s a story behind it shows real interest.

How do you start a speed dating conversation?

So you’ve worked out your intro. Great. But that’s only the first few seconds and while it may spark a line of conversation, it may be followed by silence. It’s simply a starter for ten to get you into some quality chat. If your introduction can incorporate a topic that moves you forward all the better. You don’t have long, so plan ahead. Spend too long hesitating or wondering what to say and you’ll have used up your allotted time before you know it. Once you’ve made an intro, we recommend you offer up some open questions to your date. Stay away from contentious topics, keep it clean and be polite. But a little cheekiness or some gentle flirting can work wonders.

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Sometimes, the best way to learn is by doing it. Nothing beats practice in the ‘field’. Book a speed dating event near you, go prepared with a few ice breakers and have some fun. You might pick up some useful tips from other attendees too!

Related Questions

Do you hug when meeting on a first date?
Etiquette has changed completely over the past year and a half following the pandemic. While a hug and an air kiss or peck on the cheek would have been fairly standard - even if it’s a blind date - in the current climate it’s not a given. Hugging on a speed date is not only practically difficult, but it’s also inadvisable with so many attendees.

How do you say goodbye on a first date?
At speed dating, a simple ‘lovely to meet you’ or similar will suffice. On a first date one-on-one, you’ll have to gauge the vibe. If it’s gone well a hug and a kiss may be appropriate. But do try to read their body language before making a move.

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