I’ve been married too long to have ever participated in the relatively new phenomenon of “speed dating,” but I think I would have liked it. The idea of trying out different approaches quickly, in a low risk environment, with a large number of people, strikes me as an efficient way to quickly figure out how well your message plays in the market (and to adjust accordingly).
That’s why I attended a lot of business and networking meetings when I first got started as a solo professional. Rather than fine-tuning my marketing message (i.e. how I explain/describe my business) on live prospects, these meetings offer an opportunity to meet people, say your piece, and see how well they 1.) understand it, and 2.) are intrigued by it.
Pay special attention to follow-up questions. If people say, “tell me more..,” you’re on the right track. If they excuse themselves to go to the men’s room, maybe not so much.
The important thing is to keep experimenting, and getting out of your office — particularly in the beginning — is a perfect opportunity.