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As an antidote, Robert Chambers, in his superb book Participatory Workshops, proposes the "buzz": "So easy. Invite participants to buzz with others next to them--about what has just been covered or done, an issue that has arisen, the agenda.
The immediate wake-up often includes learning by talking." Speed dating takes these conversations a step further by focusing on a specific topic of interest and by recognizing that individuals fill different roles in many conversations.
Both groups were given worksheets that listed the types of information they might want to share.
In advance, the chefs had been told to bring their menus, and the farmers instructed to bring their crop lists.
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.
At the most recent conference, the organizers inserted a speed dating session in the dreaded after-lunch slot on the agenda.A show of hands revealed that all felt that they had made useful business contacts.No complaints were heard about being sleepy from the spectacular lunch.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.