Eight Steps

Struggling with an online visa application form inspired this jolt. I should have mastered the learning point a long time ago, but I still trap myself springing into early action.


The participants write and erase various letters according to a set of instructions. One of the later steps cancel all other steps. The participants who review all the instructions before jumping into action finish the task faster.


To highlight the importance of reviewing all the tasks before carrying them out.


Minimum: 1

Maximum: Any number

Best: 10 to 30


3 minutes for the activity. 3 minutes for debriefing.


Instruction Sheet, one copy for each participant.


  • Pieces of paper
  • Pencils with erasers




Hand out the supplies. Give everyone a piece of paper and a pencil with an eraser.

Brief the participants. Tell the participants that they have to write some things and erase some things during the activity. That is why they are supplied with a pencil with an eraser.

Distribute the Instruction Sheet. Ask the participants to place this sheet printed side down.

Preview the activity. When you blow the whistle, the participants should turn the instruction sheet over and read and follow the instructions. When they have completed the task, they should stand up and announce, “Done!”.

Start the activity. Blow the whistle to signal the beginning of the activity.

Conclude the activity. Wait until two people stand up. Ask everyone to stop.


Reveal the special step. Ask everyone to read Step 7 in the list of instructions.

Ask for the learning point. Encourage the participants to offer alternative lessons they learned. Share the learning point given below.

Ask for real-world examples. Invite the participants to share workplace incidents that are similar to what happened in the jolt.

Learning Point

Have an idea of all the steps in a task before jumping into action.

Instruction Sheet

  1. Write your full name. Include your first name, last name, and middle names (if any). Write everything in capital letters.
  2. Inspect what you have written. If any letter is repeated, erase it every time it occurs.
  3. Check the first letter among the letters that are not erased. Write the letter that occurs alphabetically before this letter at the end of the current list of letters.
  4. Erase the third letter in the current list. Also erase the third letter from the end of the list.
  5. Look at the current list of letters. Using any four of the letters, make a four-letter word. Write this word at the end of the list of letters.
  6. Count the number of vowels and consonants in your list of letters. If there are more vowels than consonants, write the letter “V” at the end of the list.
  7. Write your mother’s maiden name anywhere on the piece of paper. Ignore all other instructions. Stand up and announce “Done!”
  8. Add the first name of your friend to the end of the list.