The Impact of Spelling Bee Participation on Confidence in Public Speaking

Impact of Spelling Bee
Public speaking is one of the most common phobias in the world. In fact, some surveys suggest that as much as 75% of people experience some level of anxiety or fear when speaking in front of an audience. This is understandable – being the focus of attention and having all eyes on you can be nerve-wracking for many. 
However, the skills required for effective public speaking are invaluable in school, the workplace, and life in general. Being able to clearly articulate ideas and connect with an audience is important for leadership, presentations, interviews, and more. That’s why finding ways to develop confidence and skills in public speaking at a young age can have lifelong benefits.
In this article, we’ll explore the ways in which participating in spelling bees can help develop confidence and skills in public speaking for children and teens. You can also check Today’s Spelling Bee Answers at SBHinter.

Spelling Bees Develop Public Speaking Fundamentals

Spelling bees require participants to speak clearly before an audience, providing excellent early practice for developing public speaking skills. Here are some of the public speaking fundamentals that spelling bee experience reinforces:


In a spelling bee, students must speak loudly and clearly enough to be heard by the judges and audience. Practicing projecting their voice in this low-stakes environment gets them comfortable with the vocal projection needed for public speaking.


Spelling bees demand careful enunciation so that the judges can accurately hear each letter in the word. The focus required to slowly sound out words helps spelling bee solver’s master diction and articulation – critical for being understood when speaking publicly.


Stepping up to the microphone and standing before an audience, all eyes on you, is intimidating! But it also builds presence and poise. Spelling bee experience helps kids become comfortable being the center of attention.

Body Language:

From posture to hand gestures to facial expressions, body language impacts how your public speaking is received. Spelling bee competitors can practice controlling nerves and presenting confidence through their physical presence.

Pace & Flow:

Participants must patiently sound out words, pausing between letters, while maintaining a steady pace and flow. This cadence is great practice for the rhythms of public speaking and controlling speaking rate.

These public speaking fundamentals trained through spelling bee participation establish critical lifelong speaking habits. The experience ingrains skills like vocal projection, diction, posture, and pace that speakers rely on. Getting comfortable with these early helps build lifelong public speaking confidence.

Spelling Bee Skills that Support Public Speaking:

Beyond the core public speaking fundamentals practiced in spelling bees, there are additional skills developed through spelling bee participation that translate into better public speaking abilities. These include:


To master challenging words, spelling bee competitors use hints and tips like memory techniques like chunking, visualization, mnemonics, and repetition. These memorization skills are hugely helpful for remembering key points  and lines when public speaking without relying on notes.


The mental focus required to correctly spell difficult words is incredible concentration practice. This trains the ability to stay focused when speaking publicly, rather than getting distracted or letting the mind wander. 

Verbal Dexterity:

Quickly sounding out long, complex words trains verbal dexterity. This ability to smoothly deliver tricky combinations of letters and sounds makes speaking publicly feel more effortless.

Grace Under Pressure:

Spelling bees involve immense pressure to perform under the bright lights. Practicing grace under that pressure conditions spelling bee participants to better handle the stress of public speaking situations.

Language Mastery:

To excel at spelling bees, participants must have an expansive vocabulary and command of language. This foundation in language pays dividends when crafting speeches and clearly communicating ideas.

These complementary skills developed through competitive spelling support students in becoming better, more confident public speakers. Spelling bees essentially serve as early training for thinking on your feet and articulating words and ideas clearly under pressure. This builds the mental acuity and unflappability needed for effective public speaking.

The Lasting Confidence-Building Effects of Spelling Bees:

Beyond instilling useful skills, participating in spelling bees can have a lasting positive impact on kids’ confidence in public speaking that pays dividends throughout life. Here are some of the key confidence-building effects:

Overcoming Stage Fright:

Facing the nerves of standing in front of an audience regularly through spelling bees helps participants become far more comfortable with public speaking over time. It serves as exposure therapy that allows them to overcome anxieties.

Sense of Achievement:

The sense of achievement from progressing to new rounds and winning spelling bees builds self-efficacy. Kids gain confidence in themselves and their abilities, which translates into increased poise as public speakers.

Social Confidence:

Interacting with the judges, moderator, audience, fellow participants, and media at spelling bees helps build social skills and confidence. This allows kids to be less intimidated by the social aspects of public speaking.

Composure Under Stress:

Practicing grace under the intense pressure of a spelling bee instills confidence in one’s ability to keep composure and maintain poise when speaking publicly. Kids learn they can stay cool and collected.

Fluency & Flow:

As spelling bee participants become more fluent sounding out complex words, their overall verbal fluency and ability to maintain flow improves. This allows for smooth, confident public speaking.

These lasting confidence-building outcomes stem from the positive experiences and sense of accomplishment spelling bee participants gain. Their increased comfort, composure and capabilities make public communication far less intimidating.

Tips for Reinforcing Public Speaking Skills:

For parents and teachers looking to maximize the public speaking benefits of spelling bee participation, here are some useful tips:

  • Have participants practice speeches and presentations in front of small friendly audiences to extend their skills.
  • Record spelling bee students saying their words and play it back for them to hear where improvements in volume, pace, and clarity can be made. 
  • Make sure to highlight the relationship between spelling bee skills and public speaking have students reflect on how preparation and performance transfer over.
  • Consider entering students who excel at spelling bees in public speaking competitions like debate club, mock trial, and model UN to further build skills. 
  • Focus on body language, posture and eye contact by recording students and reviewing on video. Give positive feedback.
  • Do mock interviews with spelling bee achievers – the practice articulating under pressure will serve them well.
  • Help them build a growth mindset by praising effort over innate talent. Reminding them of their skills requires practice.

Leveraging spelling bees this way reinforces their public speaking benefits and ensures participants progress to advanced skills. With encouragement, guidance, and opportunities to practice, spelling bees can be the start of a lifelong journey mastering communication. 


In summary, participating in spelling bees offers tremendous potential to help children develop confidence and skills in public speaking that will pay dividends throughout their schooling and careers. Spelling bees allow participants to practice critical public speaking fundamentals like projection, diction, pace, and poise in a low-pressure setting. Kids also build complementary skills like concentration, verbal dexterity, grace under pressure, and language mastery that support greater success as public speakers.  

Through facing nerves and gaining a sense of achievement, spelling bee competitors develop increased comfort, composure, and capabilities when speaking publicly. With positive reinforcement from parents and teachers, the experience can instill confidence and skills that reduce stage fright and anxiety when public speaking in any situation. Helping children embrace public communication early on empowers them to have a lifetime of success and leadership in whatever they pursue.