Dev’s Way

Child in a sportswear receiving a golden cup. Young atlete winning the sports school competition. Boy with golden medal getting an award for the best player of the tournament

Fourteen-year-old Dev Shah is our newest National Spelling Bee Champion. He bested a field of 288 competitors and 10 finalists. Being on a national stage, competing in front of television cameras is enough to make anyone anxious. What is Dev’s formula?

Not surprisingly, Dev’s way is also gold for speakers. Dev bounced back from losing multiple times---resilience. His parents hired a coach and Dev studied ten hours a day for the last year---dedication. And Dev loves language---passion. Dev said what kept him calm was never looking too far ahead, but staying in the moment. Breathing before spelling a word allowed him to think on his feet. And competing in other bees (especially losing) allowed Dev to know what to expect.

Whether you’re trying to spell psammophile, or nail a presentation, model Dev. Speak as often as you can, win or lose. Be passionate about getting better and creating influence. Stay in the moment when you present to better think on your feet, pivoting when necessary. Like Dev, exercise to lower stress and take your mind off the project at hand. And at the heart of your speaking, love language.

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