Here's a 3-minute jolt activity that enables the participants to explore what makes a task highly motivating.


To identify factors related to the excitement of a task.


15 or more.


This was originally presented as a 99-second session. However, 3 to 5 minutes will provide a more appropriate time frame.


Seven large cards with these letters written in bold block letters: CDEEITX.


Ask seven people from the first row to come to the front of the room and stand in a straight line facing the audience.

Distribute the letter cards, one to each participant. Ask each person to hold her letter card above her head, so the audience can read it easily.

Explain that the letters spell a seven-letter English word. Ask members of the audience to call out directions to the letter holders to rearrange them to in the correct order to spell the word. (Examples: One of the people with the letter E, please move to the beginning of the word. The person with the letter D, move to the end.)

Ask the letter holders to follow the directions from the audience. Give some hints to speed up the process, if necessary.

When the word is correctly formed, ask everyone to read it aloud at the count of three.

Thank the letter holders, collect the cards, and send them back to their seats.

Lead a round of applause for the entire group for rapidly solving the anagram.


Debrief by asking the group if they were really excited about the activity. Ask participants to identify reasons that made this an exciting activity. Use appropriate probing questions to elicit these causes:

  • The activity was brief.
  • The activity was unexpected.
  • Everybody was invited to participate in the activity, but nobody was forced to participate.
  • The activity was intellectually stimulating.
  • People were yelling out their directions in a playfully chaotic fashion. They were not taking turns and behaving politely.
  • It was a group challenge rather than an individual challenge.
  • It was a cooperative activity.
  • The feedback was immediate.
  • The letter holders enjoyed being the center of attention.
  • Members of the audience enjoyed their power to push people around.
  • There was a sense of urgency, even though there was no time limit.

Ask participants to brainstorm how these ideas can be applied to increase the excitement level of everyday activities.