Men and women are rotated to meet each other over a series of short "dates" usually lasting from three to eight minutes depending on the organization running the event.At the end of each interval, the organizer rings a bell, clinks a glass, or blows a whistle to signal the participants to move on to the next date.Most speed dating events match people at random, and participants will meet different "types" that they might not normally talk to in a club.On the other hand, the random matching precludes the various cues, such as eye contact, that people use in bars to preselect each other before chatting them up.At the end of the event participants submit to the organizers a list of who they would like to provide their contact information to.
A 2006 study in Edinburgh, Scotland showed that 45% of the women participants in a speed-dating event and 22% of the men had come to a decision within the first 30 seconds.
Hurrydate was acquired by Spark Networks (Jdate/Christian Mingle). The advantage of online speed dating is that users can go on dates from home as it can be done from any internet enabled computer.
Pre-Dating was acquired by Cupid.com, but eventually became independent again. The disadvantage is people do not actually meet one another.
Unlike many bars, a speed dating event will, by necessity, be quiet enough for people to talk comfortably.
Participants can come alone without feeling out of place; alternatively it is something that women who like to go out in groups can do together.
Many speed dating events are targeted at particular communities: for example, LGBT people, polyamorists, Some feel that speed dating has some obvious advantages over most other venues for meeting people, such as bars, discotheques, etc.