I also don’t think a dinner is a good option for a first date. What I realised is that most people are not very comfortable with initiating conversation and keeping it flowing in a first date, so walking dates or dates with other attractions (Like museums or exhibitions, or street market) can be a great option.
I totally disagree with the pay for the dinner tip. I particularly feel more pressured than flattered when a guy offers to pay the bill. It doesn’t makes a difference to me if he doesn’t offer. I also don’t like to be called sweetie and company, it makes me wanna puke.
I thing a great part of the tips is focused on being a good conversationalist, and that is good for any kind of interaction. This Ted talk gives amazing tips as well! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1vskiVDwl4
I think the compliment is nice, but it needs to be something sincere and preferably not related to how she looks. I think the compliment should be given in the middle of the date, when she mentions something very interesting and you just throw your impressions/compliments. Try not to be obvious. I get a lot of compliments “Oh my god, you must be so smart” but really, it is not very meaningful. However, when someone told me “You sound so passioned about your profession, that is amazing.” sounded much more genuine and touching. I would say, when complimenting, be original, be sincere.
Another tip I would give is: Know yourself. If you know your passions and fears, had a collection of stories, have your own opinions, taste and all, you probably will sound interesting and someone who worth spending time with. Maybe get a little “mind profile” of you before going on a date, so you can be more prepared if you’re not a naturally great conversionalist.
As a bonus, I always appreciate people with personality, so maybe this is a way to go too, but I think this one is very personal.