Video of a speed dating event The process works like this: Each week, several events are scheduled at a couple of Columbus-area restaurant/bars.Those interested in attending visit the company website ( The events are grouped by age (generally within a 10-year range), with about 10 or 12 men and women at each event.

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'Introduction specialist' Some people might call Nicci Sprouse a matchmaker.

She prefers the descriptor "introduction specialist." "What people are really looking for is an introduction," said Sprouse, who, before founding Introductions by Ask Nicci last year, worked as a matchmaker for a Cincinnati company.

"But what they're looking for is a serious relationship.

And what we can do as matchmakers is vet people for them." Dating Directions, Cobey-Piper noted, accepts clients interested only in lasting relationships, not just dating.

In the 21st century, the search has, in some ways, become easier and faster; and, in other ways, more complicated - and costly. Finding someone who is interested in a meaningful, committed relationship seemingly isn't easy for many 20- and 30-somethings.

Finding a soul mate isn't necessarily what it used to be.

Hardesty and Cobey-Piper founded and co-own Dating Directions, a Dublin company offering date-coaching and matchmaking services. In its ninth year of business, Dating Directions has had an 80 percent success rate, according to Hardesty and Cobey-Piper.

Together, they work to help clients find love and, when necessary, overcome obstacles that might be holding them back.

"When you're in the hands of a matchmaker, let the matchmaker figure it out for you," she said.

"All of our clients are very datable," said Hardesty, who is involved in a committed relationship.

Within the six-minute window, participants fill out "match sheets" to indicate whether they're interested in the other person.