Living Room Cincinnati | Business
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Your Environment Matters

Consider your living room. How does it look? What’s the energy in the space? When you’re at home, are you inspired, tired, relaxed, feeling rigid?

If you’re dissatisfied with the decor, it only takes a simple search on Pinterest to fuel hours of interior design inspo. We see folks all over the country sprucing up their living spaces with fresh ideas found on the web and decluttering until their joy is sparked. Heck, I’m even guilty of joining the self-made-interior-designer party with a few too many home projects.

But why the sudden fascination with the way our home looks? Is it just one continuous game of keeping up with the Jones? Are we all so concerned about our house’s resale value?

Maybe. But I think the answer is less vain than those proposed above.

I think, instead, we’ve finally given weight to our environment and its causing folks to get to work.

We see this in home trends, restaurant remodels, and open-concept workspaces. Even public parks are experiencing innovation in their design.

So why then is the research industry clinging so hard to its sterile rooms with harsh lighting and the oh-so-obvious one-way mirror?

After all, aren’t we supposed to be on the cusp of innovation? Aren’t the people involved in market research meant to be the free thinkers, the creatives, the blast-through-the-ceiling, disrupt-every-industry kind of type?

If you ask us, it’s time for research facilities to catch up to the rest. An overhaul of how and where we do research has been desperately needed for years, but our stubborn, traditional mindsets have kept us stagnant.

So let’s commit to change. Let’s start designing our facilities to meet consumers where they are. Let’s start prioritizing respondents comfort so we can tap into more of their authentic, felt responses and not just their verbal answers. Let’s start creating spaces where researchers and consumers can have honest conversations, without feeling like they’re in the midst of an interrogation.

Why would we do all that? Because your environment matters.

The behavioral sciences would agree with that statement, and we think you should too.

The Living Room has been designed as a creative space since its inception, but we believe our facility is one of very few. We’ve decided to ditch the one-way mirror altogether, without giving up the perks of standard observation, by employing technology to do the viewing work for us.

Our rooms are intentionally designed to mimic the look and feel of a comfortable living space (hence our name). When you walk into our Research Suite, you step into a room with beautiful wood floors, exposed brick, natural light, and plants galore. Not a dimly-lit waiting area with a front desk.

But we know we’re not alone. There are others out there. Other facilities who are doing things differently. We (fellow creative facilities) may be small in numbers but as the industry evolves, we’ll see more attention given to interior design because we believe this is the way research is going. And the results are spectacular.

So, as our final word on the subject, I think it’s clear to say that it is time for our stale spaces to retire.

Go open up that Pinterest App, and let’s get to work.

strengthening your core

Strengthening Your Core (Business)

Every business has a core. Whether it’s a specific product, a primary service, or an original merchandise line, your core serves as the cornerstone of your business. It’s the thing that got you into the industry and the reason your doors are still open today.

Overcoming your fear of selling

For most of us, selling for the first time is a terrifying hump to get over. It’s intimidating, overwhelming, and easy to feel completely out of place.

The first time I set out to sell for the Living Room was exactly one of those times.


Networking Event Prep

Many of us have been in this situation, the day before you attend your first networking event ever. The uncertainty of the environment as well as your own anxiety quickly develops to falsely convince yourself of imminent failure. The simple fact is that no one is an expert in his or her first networking event. Expertise in this field requires experience, which will ultimately eliminate those senses of anxiety and uncertainty. Although it is impossible to be an expert initially, it is however, very possible to be prepared. So what does it take to be correctly prepared for such an event? Here are some simple ways to correctly prepare yourself for success in your first networking event:

Be aware of the attire recommended or required for the event.

There is nothing worse than showing up to a social gathering looking like a complete fool because you are either under or overdressed. To avoid this embarrassing situation, review the invitation, visit the event website, or contact the hosts to be sure that you will arrive to the event in a professional manner.

Make sure you have your business cards handy.

Through your preparations for the event, do not lose sight of the fact that you are not just trying to meet people, you are trying to keep in touch with these people outside the event. For the sake of future connections, make sure that you have plenty of business cards to provide the people you meet an easy way to connect with you.

Memorize how you are going to present yourself.

Develop a way that you can smoothly describe yourself or the company that you are endorsing so that people know you mean business. Prepare yourself how to answer certain questions that might be asked, as well as how you can break the ice to start up a conversation. You do no want to overwhelm the people with information that will lose their focus, so keep it simple and professional.

Relax! You’re going to do great!

Yes it is going to be awkward at first, but remember that you are not alone. It’s normal for most people to initially feel a bit uncomfortable at the event. It is important to also remember that these people all share at least one goal with you, the goal that they are looking for someone to talk with. So do not be afraid to approach someone for a conversation, because odds are that you are doing that person a favor by eliminating the awkwardness of standing alone.

Congratulations, you are now fully prepared to attend your first networking event! Now get out there and enjoy yourself.

Business Etiquette

Ever get invited to a business dinner and feel a little out of your league when you looked at the menu? Or maybe the sight of several forks and spoons was more daunting than the shoptalk at the end of the night? Seems in these modern times with life being so busy maybe your own parents never really taught you the basics? The good news is there’s nothing wrong with needing a little refresher course on business etiquette. Here are some of our top tips for looking like you’ve got it all figured out, even when maybe you don’t.

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  • Attire – Better to be over-dressed than under-dressed
  • Seating
    • Don’t put your wallet or keys on the table. You can put your cell phone on the table, face down – but clarify why? Example – I have my kids with a sitter, so I just need this here as a precaution.
  • Paying
    • If you asked for the meal – you are paying.
    • Be discrete, but let the waiter know you are the person paying so when the bill comes it’s not uncomfortable for the client.
  • Ordering
    • Let the host order 1st
    • If you are with a client who knows the restaurant very well – it is nice to allow them to order for the table
    • Try not to be too complicated… think When Harry Met Sally
  • Drinking
    • Allow the person paying to order the wine
    • To establish the price you are comfortable with, tell the sommelier what you like and then point to a wine on the list that is in the range you are comfortable with.
    • After you test the wine – do not send it back unless it is awful
    • Don’t be the only person drinking at the table
    • 2 drink max – don’t drink the hard stuff!
    • Drink water throughout dinner.
    • Look into your wine glass not over it when drinking
  • The napkin!
    • Take a cue from your host and place your napkin on your lap when you are about ready to eat
    • If you have to get up from the table, place the napkin on your chair arm or seat (not the table)
    • When you are finished with dinner it should go on the left side of your plate. Again, wait for the cue from your host.
  • FOOD
    • Wait for everyone to get their food before eating
    • Chew with your mouth closed
    • Don’t talk with food in your mouth
    • Cut meat one piece at a time – not the whole thing!
    • When you are finished – place the fork and knife at 10 and 2 – fork facing up – knife to the right
  • Basic manners
  • Keep your elbows off of the table while eating
  • Wipe your fingers and mouth often with your napkin

If that menu at the fancy French restaurant is all Greek to you, here are a few words you should know that might help you order.


This simply means the dish has been cooked, garnished, or stuffed with truffles (subterranean mushrooms) in some way.


A preparation of finely chopped raw meat. There are many variations on the tartare, including steak, chicken, salmon, and eel. The most common is tuna tartare.


This is just a fancy way to say we are taking all the ingredients in a normal dish, and putting them together in a different way.


This is a popular Spanish seafood dish that is made with raw fish marinated in citrus juices and spiced with aji or chili peppers. It can then be seasoned with chopped onions and salt.

Mignardises or Petits Fours

Often times tasting menus simply end with “Mignardises” or “Petits Fours,” which are tiny, bite-sized desserts. They usually include tiny cookies or chocolates.

Good to Great Review


I have often been handed books from bosses or colleagues in my career and if I’m being truthful I’d bet only a handful have every really stood out to me. I find most business books are so lost in theory that it’s near impossible to find away to actually apply the principles they are trying to convey.