The best way to describe speed dating is as a cross between a job interview, a blind date and a game of musical chairs.

Participants are introduced to members of the opposite sex who have pre-registered to play the game.   Each player typically gets three to eight minutes to interview each potential partner by asking them pointed questions and then at the sound of a bell or music, the chair across you is replaced by another face.

You are not allowed to exchange your name, contact information but you are allowed to ask the other person questions. With speed dating you can meet as many as twenty-five people (maybe more, depending on the length of the game) in one fell swoop!

Some see speed dating as being the ideal hybrid between online and offline dating. You get to meet a number of strangers within the safety of a friendly and merry environment that is policed by the organisers.

At the end of the night, you fill out a form that asks you to note which potential mates you are interested in and these are submitted to the organisers. The organisers then submit the information to the other party, usually by email.

You can ask a partner for a date, but a date only takes place if the other party is in agreement. In most games, the responsibility of calling the interested party first after the game is over lies with the female. This is so she has time to change her mind and is not swamped with calls from interested suitors.

Males are not usually given the contact information of females, although the game is evolving to allow this in certain venues.

Depending on the type of speed dating game you are playing, the name is revealed either when:

1) There is a mutual match meaning that both partners decided that they liked each other.

2) Only when the women agreed that she would like to take the meeting further by going out on a date.

If you are a woman who prefers not to be contacted by a male after a speed-dating game check with the organisers before you attend to see how they handle the distribution of information after the game.

In most speed dating games, most communication is written or concealed from the potential dates. This is a big plus in that it spares single people the face-to-face embarrassment of turning someone down. This is a social grace that is not always afforded people who are put in the awkward position of going out on a blind date or suffering through a first date where the two of you end up talking about the weather all night to cover up the fact that you are grossly incompatible!