Based upon my experience there really are no shortcuts!
Every woman has her own "must have" list!
Other factors however may include one's culture or nationality.
In the U.S. it doesn't hurt to be physically attractive, have a good paying job or good career prospects, a great sense of humor, and (confidence) as good starting points.
Coming across as timid/weak/shy/insecure usually lands a guy in the "friend zone" quicker than he can say "hello".
Don't be afraid to flirt and smile during a conversation.
If the woman doesn't smile or laugh while talking to you early on it's going to be a challenge to get her to want to spend any significant amount of time with you.
People want to (enjoy) each other's company.
A few more pointers to bear in mind.
Don't be afraid of a fast rejection! (It saves everyone time!) Next!
If she suggests (being friends first) it usually means she doesn't see (you) as a romantic prospect! If she did she wouldn't want to risk leaving you on the "open market" for too long.
After all there is no such thing as "exclusive platonic friends".
Women also hate it when guys accept friendship with a hidden agenda of hoping to turn it into more down the road.
Remember everyone is a little nervous talking to new people but don't get stressed out. It's not like you're being asked to decide on whether to cut the "red wire" or the "blue wire".
Relax! Have fun!
It's just a date or a meet and greet!