Brain Toys and Exercises: Effective Ways to Energize Your Business Development Efforts

Principal at McMurdo Consulting and former Chief Marketing Officer for Perkins Coie, Kevin McMurdo has nearly three decades of experience in business development strategy and business development training. On September 17, he spoke to the LMA- Capital Chapter and provided useful insight into effective ways to revitalize business development efforts using brain games and exercises.

McMurdo introduced the audience to the concept of the Integrated Playbook.  The goals of the Integrated Playbook are to increase attorneys product knowledge, grow their interpersonal skills, help them improve their reputation or find their niche and to improve their client service. 


As legal marketing professionals, we must give attorneys information that they need know in a way that they will accept. If an attorney learns better alone, we should be able to offer self-help tools. If an attorney learns best in short bursts, a brown bag session might be ideal. Some of the brain games and exercises are featured below. 

Product Knowledge

Brown Bag: A great way of increasing product knowledge is to ask an attorney who is working with a top company/client to lead a brown bag session talking about their client. If a representative of the client can attend, it would be even more informative. This gives attendees valuable product knowledge about a client that is important to the firm.

Retreat: At firm retreats, a quiz show is a great technique for getting attorneys to learn about products. Take turns separating them into groups of 3 or 4 and have them answer questions about the types of services the firm is able to provide.

Self-Help: The intranet is the best resource for self-help.  Establish weekly intranet polls, asking simple questions such as “What is your favorite restaurant?” When the question is answered you can reveal the poll results and include information on the firm’s newest restaurant client or restaurant practice group. Lateral hire introductory videos are also a great way of getting attorneys to know about different practice areas, as well as learn the personalities of their new colleagues.

Interpersonal Skills

Brown Bag: Have attorneys work on networking and listening skills by bringing in a trainer to educate them on elevator pitches and listening techniques.

Retreats: In a small retreat breakout session, allow attorneys to make a pitch or presentation on a topic of their choice. They can then watch a recording of the presentation and critique themselves while getting feedback from the trainer.

Self-Help: On their own time, have attorneys complete a communication assessment (such as DISC) and report back on their results to ensure each communication style is being properly accommodated.


Brown Bag: Offer a lunch session that gives attorneys the opportunity to create or update their LinkedIn profile with someone from the business development team.

Retreats: Establish a “Bio Booth” at the firm retreat so attorneys can work with a representative from the business development department to update and edit their biography.  A good retreat game is “The New York Times Challenge.” Give attorneys time to read through the New York Times or any major publication and challenge them to identify as many unique practice niches as they can.

Self-Help: Launch a “Business Development Help Desk” to answer attorney business development questions when they have time.

Client Service

Brown Bag: Play “Name That Client” with team or practice group leaders. They can be shown a picture or given a clue to identify a particular client. Once the client is identified, ask the attorney in-depth details about the client (favorite food, spouse/children names, passions, etc.).

Retreat: Innovation Tournaments is a game that is used to collect innovative ideas from attorneys. The top 10 ideas get three minutes to present their ideas to the group. The top three from there are given additional time to refine their idea and present it to the group again. The prize is that the winner has their idea implemented by the firm. Another idea is to videotape client service interviews and show them to attorneys so they can hear client feedback first-hand.

Self-Help: Maintaining “client pages” for the firm’s key clients on the intranet allows attorneys to brush up on important clients on their own time.

Fire Drill

A fire drill is preparedness training for business development and marketing teams.  Send the team emails at 10AM with a hypothetical situation that they now have to prepare for, such as a rainmaker who forgot he has a group of 25 people coming in at 3pm to hear a pitch from him. What do you do?  Just like a fire drill, this helps prepare teams for business development and marketing emergencies.


By Kamaria Salau, Marketing Manager, Jackson & Campbell, P.C. for the September/October 2014 Issue of Capital Ideas.

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