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.
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.
In a 2012 study, researchers found that activation of specific brain regions while viewing images of opposite-sex speed dating participants was predictive of whether or not a participant would later pursue or reject the viewed participants at an actual speed dating event.
According to the New York Times, participants in speed dating experience an average of 2 in 10 or 3 in 10 matches.
Online dating participants, in contrast, only find a compatible match with 1 in 100 or fewer of the profiles they study.
In the UK, there are two companies that run events in more than twenty cities: Speed Dater and Slow Dating.
The largest speed dating company in Australia is Fastlife. Several online dating services offer online speed dating where users meet online for video, audio or text chats.