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Q&A with SpeedDater’s Sarah Payne

February 12, 2020

As part of our speed dating series, we’re providing expert advice on organising a successful event. We chat to SpeedDater’s Sarah Payne to chat all things dating, from organising blind fold speed dating to advice for singles.

What is the key to speed dating success? 

They key to success with Speed Dating is coming with an open mind and embracing meeting other single people. Dating is hard and speed dating is such a great way to meet people in a nice safe environment. The hosts are trained to put people at ease and give them that little confidence pep talk when signing in. It’s important to be yourself. Think about the most important things you want to learn about the other people you are meeting with your four minute time limit!

What are your top tips for organizing the event?

The most important thing about organizing a speed dating event is keeping the guests constantly informed about what is happening next. They can be nervous, and that reassurance puts people at ease and makes them feel relaxed. It important to create a nice environment at the venue – candles and the tables set out nicely to make the room feel cosy and welcoming. I always make sure when hosting if someone is alone (if there is a gap in genders) to go and sit with this person, even just to ask how they are finding the experience or how their day went. As the events manager the most important thing to me is guest experience. We want the events to run smoothly and everyone to leave happy.  

What are the usual speed dating demographics?

We run lots of different speed dating sessions for all types of age ranges. We run events for 21 year olds all the way up to 60 year olds. We monitor the ratios all day every day to ensure we have the same number of males and females book onto our events. Women always book in advance – no matter what age range and the men always book more last minute. That is always the trend for SpeedDater.

What advice would you give to speed daters? Why should they give it a go? 

One thing I always say to people wanting to try speed dating is it is honestly such a perfect way to meet other singles. Even if it’s not a romantic connection straight away you could make a friendship connection/business connection/other single people to go to events with or do activities with! You get to meet up to 12 singles in one night in a safe environment. In my opinion that’s better than sitting on your phone on a Tuesday night swiping through online dating profiles. I encourage people to be open-minded and positive about the experience.

How do you ensure the event is safe and welcoming?

Our events are always such a safe place to be. We choose well-known venues and make sure they have great transport links. Our hosts are trained to make people feel welcome, safe, at ease and always reassure people who are nervous or insecure. If we encounter anyone that does not follow our terms and conditions, we would stop them from attending as our guest’s safety and wellbeing is our upmost priority. We deliver the best safety at our regular speed dating sessions as well as at lock and key parties for singles.

Tell us about one of your most memorable speed dating experiences

The most memorable event for me is creating blind fold speed dating. Time and time again I observe people judging appearance before they have even sat down with their date. That’s normal and I understand that, but I wanted to provide an environment where that judgement was removed. We had 12 couples and it was the best event I have ever done. People were laughing, smiling, holding hands across the table. It warmed my heart to watch single people meeting in this way! Afterwards we put everyone back in a room together so no one knew who they had met and watching people talk again was really something special after sharing this experience. It’s such a wonderful thing to watch two people make connections.

Are you feeling inspired by Sarah Payne’s advice? Check out our ultimate guide to running a speed dating night!

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