I ran several different geek dating events at GenCon this year. Here’s a recap of how things went and how I plan to improve on things for next GenCon (and other conventions – contact me if you’d like me to run events at your convention!)
Dating Doctor Clinic
The folks who came for the Dating Doctor Clinic were great people. I loved talking with each and every one of them and hearing their dating stories, and I hope I gave each of them some useful suggestions for making their dating lives better.
Improvements for 2011: I’d like to have all the Dating Doctor sessions in my own hotel. Even if it ends up being in a corner of the lobby. I couldn’t get internet in the other hotels the event was placed in, which prevented me from giving instant feedback on dating profiles like I would have liked to do. Since I paid $10/day for internet at the Hyatt, I could have easily done everything I wanted right here at “home.”
Geek’s Guide to Online Dating Success Seminar
This one was fun! It reminded me of being a teacher (but without all the red tape and Dept of Education BS). I had my borrowed pico projector and my iPod to project my PowerPoint slides, most of which were hilarious photos that people have put on their dating profiles. I find it’s always best to teach by (horrible!) example.
The “class” also got a special worksheet that will help them write a magnetically attractive online dating profile, step by step. This worksheet is a sneak peek of something that will be expanded and included in my upcoming ebook. (OMG SPOILERZ!)
Improvements for 2011: Actually, I think this one went pretty darn well!
WOW, was this fun! Once on-site registration opened, the ladies’ tickets started selling quickly! Guys’ tickets stayed at capacity due to folks on the Watch List snatching up returned ones immediately. By the time the event started, I was seeing 17 female tickets and 20 male tickets sold.
Many thanks to StupidRanger (& Dante!) for helping me run everything – you rock.
The event’s official start time was 9:00, but due to The House being further away than the other hotels, we waited and kept signing in daters until 9:20. At that point, we were actually SHORT GUYS! Yes, you read that correctly – we had 3 more women than we had men at 9:20. Luckily, we had guys with generics who were able to hop in and fill those spots.
Each date was approximately 4 minutes. I had a party horn that I blew to signal the time to switch, and I often heard one or two “Awwwww“s when the horn sounded, as if folks were reluctant to leave that particular table. Pretty sweet.
In the end, we had 15 guys and 15 girls participate in the event. Every person came away with at least 1 mutual match. One guy ended up with NINE. (I’m not sure what he was saying on his “dates,” but it must have been awesome!) The morning after the event, I emailed each speed dater with the contact information of their mutual matches and any notes they had jotted down about the person on their note sheet. I’m hoping some of them are able to meet up again before they leave Indy!
Improvements for 2011:
- Little things: Better lighting for tables (bigger candles or small desk lamps?). Handouts/etc pre-stapled into packets for faster registration. BIG NUMBERS on nametags in bold Sharpie for easier ID of “dates.” Having people TYPE their email address into the sign-in. Twice.
- Reminder on the email at registration that if you show up after 9:15, your spot will not be waiting for you. (There was really no way to throw in extra guys at that point without totally messing up the system and lengthening the event past 11 pm.)
- TWO Speed Dating nights – one for ages 21-35, the other for ages 30+. (Yes, if you’re in the gap, you could come to both.)
- LGBT/Alt. Lifestyles Board Gaming Mixer – As the alternative to speed dating for our LGBT/Other friends, I’m hoping to get a room with 6+ game tables and a bunch of 10-20 minute games. People can pop in and out, meet folks and play games in a casual atmosphere. (Maybe somewhere near a hotel bar?)
Words can’t describe how happy I am at how things went at GenCon this year. Many thanks to Marian from GenCon’s events staff and Karen from the Crowne Plaza (where speed dating was hosted).
I’m really pleased with all the events and can already see how I’m going to make them even better in 2011. If you have any suggestions or comments you’d like to share, feel free (especially if you attended an event this year!). I am utterly exhausted (as any introvert can tell you, having to be “ON” all weekend is hard!), but totally warm & fuzzy about how the geek dating events have gone at GenCon 2010.
Hooray for geek love!