It's all still conversational and people skills at the end of the day.
Sometimes when there isn't initial connection but then our conversation flows to something that we BOTH love = awesome. For me, if a girl loves to cook, drink wine, shoots gun, and knows first aid... if any of these come up in a conversation gets me more interested in a person. Each of these I also have a story for... if no time to tell because of speed dating... can seed in something like - First aid is super important. It came in handy when my best friend had an allergic reaction when we were out shooting and his throat was closing fast. Thankfully, I knew how to handle it. I think we are running out of time, though I could tell you about it later - perhaps over a drink.
When you realize you are shutting down in the moment, ask a question instead. That is a great way to start keeping the conversation going.
Steer the conversation to what YOU are interested to talk about. What do you like in a girl?
And instead of standard boring date questions, can ask them original questions that make you stand out
-- what would you if you knew you had no chance of failure?
-- tell me about a time you are most proud of
-- do you cook, or are you a microwave specialist?
-- what's something big you want to accomplish in 2017
I ask these questions because I like girls that have depth and can reflect and be open and honest about where they are at.
I typically stay away from a/s/l type questions because that 99% of the time never tells me about the type of person they are.
Good on you for going out no matter the outcome. Keep it up.