There are so many approaches that can be taken when dating poly! Depending on current moods, various partners, and who I'm interested in, I'll date solo, or as a couple, or even in a group. The question of how to date effectively, giving each person time and attention, can be a bit daunting! There are egos involved, safety concerns, time management issues and so much more.
PG and I started dating when I was 18, married at 19, so I didn't do a lot of dating before that time. There were a couple of guys I saw, usually concurrently, a little experimentation before I met PG at college, but really no significant stuff to that point. I remember calling up the three guys I'd been dating casually a week or so after PG and I started seeing each other and telling them goodbye. What cracked me up was how they were all suddenly MUCH more interested than they had been previously!
After opening things up, we did some swinging, what many consider to be the "gateway drug" of choice to polyamory. Even pretty early on, PG found that he prefers to be on his own, while I like a team approach. We've tried various configurations, but have come to a place where we decided that we're either on a date with each other, or with others, but not both at the same time for the most part.
S and I have been trying tandem dating out over the past six months or so. Thus far, things have been going pretty well there, although I tend to get more wiggly inside when he's out solo than I would like. We are a couple of pretty gregarious people, so team dating actually works well for us, although getting us to shut up long enough to get a word in edgewise can be a bit of a challenge. ;)
The fun part of dating in a couple or group is that there is a dynamic that I share with my partners that is really enjoyable to share with others. Our friends are familiar with this as well, but it adds a different dimension when we can flirt cooperatively!
A challenging piece is that it is tougher to get someone to open up and have a more intimate conversation, often exponentially so, as more people are sharing the same space, particularly if they are introverted.
Obviously, I tend to be a bit of an open book, and generally present an expectation that those I choose to interact with intimately are similarly transparent, but that can be an unrealistic idea when trying to connect with someone who is a little more reserved.
This is where the solo dating thing comes in handy! When I run across someone I find utterly fascinating who is also a bit introverted (love you, PG!) it makes the most sense to enjoy their company in an undiluted fashion.
This isn't to say that I don't also spend solo time with my more extroverted partners, as there is something particularly wonderful about the energy of two people interacting without any distractions, but it is easier to maintain a sense of connection in group settings with extroverts, since they tend to stay more "open" energetically, even in busy environments.
It seems like the tandem date is a bit of a poly specific phenomena, with possible exception being swingers hunting the HBB. Getting the hang of that style of dating is a bit of a challenge, but one I enjoy at times. The main focus, solo or tandem, remains the same: connect with another person, seeing them as a unique and interesting individual I wish to grow closer to.