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The original speed dating was introduced as a way of promoting a safe and quick way of meeting a broad variety of date candidates.(A simple "Google search" will uncover many examples.) The Oregon Farmers' Market Association (OFMA) holds an annual conference to educate market managers about current issues.(Some juggling had to be done to make the two groups of equal size.) Worksheets were passed out to serve as discussion starters.The inexperienced managers listed market management issues/problems they wanted to discuss.Using the 8th grade dance model, the chefs line up against the wall, and the farmers went over and chose an initial "date." If it had been a smaller group (there were more than 80 participants), the chefs would have given a brief introduction so that farmers would have been better able to target their speed dates.In introducing the speed dating session, we deliberately downplayed getting to actual deals and instead discussed these desired objectives/outcomes: As it turns out, the objectives were needlessly conservative.
After hours in that role, it is little wonder that participants pour out into breaks, hungry for conversation.Abstract Most Extension educators seek new ideas for organizing more exciting and animated workshops and conferences.This article describes structured networking activities (also know as "speed dating") that succeed in enlivening meetings, strengthening networking, and improving learning.A panel of veteran market managers providing tips and suggestions has always been valuable, but it suffers from a format that is too similar to all the other sessions.At the 2003 meeting, OFMA replaced the panel with "Speed Mentoring." The entire group divided itself into two categories--experienced managers and inexperienced managers.
The experienced managers listed three significant lessons they had learned in managing markets. The experienced managers stayed put, while the inexperienced rotated one station.