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San Antonio Magazine February 2009
San Antonio Magazine- Six Picks

Six Picks-San Antonio Magazine
SABJ    Love offline

Public relations veteran Jeanne Janes' newest client has launched an effort to bring singles together. Using high-tech social media and old-fashioned person-to-person contact, Melanie Matcek, a certified matchmaker in San Antonio, has created

Don't be fooled by the Web address, however. The venture is focused on helping individuals meet offline, Janes says.

Matcek uses her Web site more as a portal to kick-start the matchmaking process and as a means of gathering information. "There is no subscriber-based access to window shop singles." Janes says.

Matcek, president and owner of Innovative Encounters LLC, stresses that her approach to matchmaking is different.

"I am a  business-minded romantic with a security background and take the safety and confidence of my clients seriously, " she says.

Once someone signs up, Matcek begins a personal interview and research process to learn more about the individual and what he or she is looking for in a "match".   Fees vary depending on the service desired.

Matcek received her certification from The Matchmaking Institute in New York in April 2007. The certification requires a commitment to follow a strict code of ethics.

"We directly manage the connection process and not only make sure the person is actually who he or she says they are, but shares similar interests and goals", she explains.



December 2008 

Feature Article:
Your Personal Image: Improve Your Dating Success


This month I interviewed Melanie Matcek, a Certified Professional Matchmaker and dating and relationship coach for singles. Melanie discusses professional image and how it can help singles to achieve more dating success.

Tara Kachaturoff

Tara Kachaturoff: What is image consulting?

Melanie Matcek: In addition to offering professional matchmaking services, I offer image consulting to single men and women to help them fine-tune their overall persona and how they project themselves to others.

Image consulting is a very personalized service. We work on everything from the client's general aesthetic appearance and body language, to their communication and etiquette skills.

I've provided guidance on literally hundreds of issues including proper table manners, makeup application, and eye contact all the way to referring clients to cosmetic surgeons for post-mastectomy reconstructive surgery. I have a large professional referral network so if something falls outside my area of expertise, I can easily refer my clients to the right person who can assist them.

The benefits of image consulting are many whether for personal or professional reasons. For single men and women, when they feel good about themselves, they tend to exude more confidence and positive energy and thus attract the same. Even just a few simple changes in habits or attitude can make a difference in their dating success.

Tara: Why is our image so important when it comes to dating?

Melanie: First impressions do count. Just as in business, it's important to make a solid first impression when it comes to our social lives. It's your premiere - your opportunity to project the best of who you are and what you have to offer. It's important to look and feel your best when you meet someone for the first time.

Remember - you only get one chance to make a good first impression - and first impressions make lasting impressions. By working on little things about how we project ourselves to others, we can create more success when it comes to dating.

Tara: Etiquette is an important part of one's image. What are three areas which would help virtually anyone to make a better impression?

Melanie: Etiquette is a culmination of decency, decorum, social graces and courtesy. Here are three areas where a little more attention will make a big difference in creating a positive impression with others.

 Courtesy. Although I deal with strong independent women, the vast majority still appreciate old-fashioned chivalry in their men. One example that comes to mind is opening the door. Whether it's a car door or a restaurant door, the majority of single women expect this from their partner, mate or date.

And don't forget pulling out the chair for the female to be seated first. Chivalry is not dead! It's important for both men and women to know the rules of social graces, including such things as saying "thank you" in acknowledging the courtesy of others.

  Table manners. I've run across many individuals who do not know how to properly hold a knife and fork during a dining experience. Some hold them like they're tools being used on an archeological dig, or even as weapons being wielded. This gives the impression of a lack of proper upbringing and sophistication.

Understanding dining etiquette is an important part of a successful dining experience, not to mention a successful date. Providing proper guidance in this area is an important part of image consulting.

  Pay attention to your date. During a date, it's important to focus on the individual you're with. Towards this end, it's best to not answer or make calls on your cell phone (unless it's an emergency), refrain from sending text messages, and certainly don't have a wandering eye.

I interviewed one woman who was out on a date with a man that checked his online dating email while they were seated for dinner. Needless to say, that was their only date! Engage the person you're with -- maintain proper eye contact and always be respectful of the time and effort they've put forth in meeting you.

Tara: What are the top three image areas that you work on with singles to help them increase their dating success?

Melanie: There are many different areas that can make a big difference when it comes to dating success. A firm handshake, a pleasant smile, and engaging conversation can really create a better dating experience for everyone.

  Firm handshake with eye contact. Properly greet your date from the start. Be firm with your handshake and immediately engage him or her by introducing yourself. I find that more women than men need to sharpen their skills in this area.

A weak handshake (I refer to this as the dead fish handshake) gives the impression of disinterest, passiveness and dismissal. Be engaging. Gone are the days of a woman simply holding out her hand, in a demure way, to be gripped by the opposite sex. Everyone needs to shake that hand firmly and make it count!

  Your smile. This can be an instant "turn on" or "turn off." A nice smile showing well-cared-for teeth is important when it comes to increasing your dating success. As part of my client intake process, I have prospects list physical attributes they're seeking in a mate. Good teeth and a nice smile win, hands down, over body type. That's how important this is.

Some clients need a little guidance or referral to resources to help get their dental health in check. To that end, I often work in conjunction with a hygienist who offers cleaning and whitening procedures. Nowadays, accessibility to these procedures, at a reasonable cost, makes it easy for everyone to afford a nice smile.

  Verbal communication and content. What you talk about and when is an important part of your dating success. In one example, I introduced two wonderfully compatible people, but things went awry during dinner when the client started talking about his former relationships and the issues he dealt with after the break-ups.

Discussing prior relationships during a first date is a big faux pas, plus a major turn off. It gives the impression that there is still a lot of baggage being carried around, not to mention unresolved issues. A first date is about exploring the possibilities of something new, thus old relationships should not be brought along.

Tara: What are some of the results and benefits that you've seen for singles who take the time to polish up their image?

Melanie: I think increased self-confidence is one benefit. Obviously, when someone feels good about their image, there is an increase in their personal confidence. They have a better sense of self and project a positive attitude, hence attracting the like.

Also, it makes it easier for both single men and women to engage in striking up conversations and asking each other out. It's easier to connect with others when you feel more confident.

Respect and self-worth is another benefit. We teach others how to treat us. If you carry yourself with value and decorum, people tend to follow suit. This is true both personally and professionally.

Finally, I think a forward momentum is created when singles start working on their image. Polishing social skills, communication skills and tweaking physical appearance have helped many of my clients get over certain internal barriers that have held them back from dating success.

Taking care of you is the first building block in being a successful single and a successful mate. Getting over your hurdles can be very liberating and can put you on the fast track to gaining personal happiness.

Tara: If you could give one simple piece of advice to singles when it comes to professional image, what would it be?

Melanie: If you feel your current image is holding you back, start by making just a few simple changes today. Whether it's your handshake, your smile, or even how you introduce yourself to others, keep in mind that these little things can greatly affect not only your personal confidence, but also the impression you make on others.

Remember to stay true to who you are. Fine tune your image to be in alignment with what you want and who you aspire to be. If you don't, you will end up projecting someone who you aren't, and attract someone you don't want. Be yourself -- but be the better version of you.

Copyright © 2008 by Melanie Matcek. All rights reserved in all media.

210.497.5724 is owned and operated by Innovative Encounters, LLC