Yoee Leung on Giving Speeches and Giving Back
By Denise Ng S3CY(17)
Yoee Leung is a renowned professional Master of Ceremony and TV host and has hosted over 700 events in four different languages. She hosts events such as exhibitions, seminars, and weddings. She also gives talks sharing her presentation skills and helping others become MC’s themselves. On the 24th of October, she visited HKUGA College to conduct a talk and share some valuable tips about hosting and presentation skills with our students, as well as recount some of her own experiences as an MC and public speaker.
Back in her university days, she used to be a feeble turtle hiding in her shell. Prior to receiving training, her shy demeanour hindered her confidence in speaking whenever she went up on stage. “I could feel my cheeks get hotter and redder by the second as people stared at me, it shook me to my core. At the same time, my brain would also stop functioning and shut down, leaving me just shivering on stage.” Yoee sighed as she thought back to those days. “My absolute lack of experience in speaking ultimately left me helpless.”
Little did she know, her life would change completely when she stumbled upon an MC training advertisement in a newspaper. “I saw no harm in trying, so I attended my first session. But as time went by, my hatred towards speaking ironically morphed into passion and there was no turning back.” As she progressed, she received more opportunities to come in contact with different events, like exhibitions, seminars, and weddings. Soon enough, her public speaking skills greatly improved, and she soon started to gain a reputation as a confident public speaker.
However, her success couldn’t have been achieved without trials and tribulations.
As an MC, high flexibility is of the utmost importance as something unexpected will most likely happen, often forcing you to think on your feet. As a systematic person, this was a tremendous challenge for Yoee as she was used to mapping out things in great detail. Over time, though, Yoee gained more experience on stage as an MC, and with that came the confidence and ability to improvise.
MC’s don’t just have to be able to adapt quickly, they also need to have an optimistic mindset. In her talk, Yoee explained how one of the biggest problems faced by those who have to speak in front of crowds is lack of confidence. That’s why having a positive mindset is so critical - a change in perception is important to keep yourself from being scared. In Yoee’s case, she always gives herself a confident boost just before going into the spotlight. Sometimes, even something as simple as a “I’m so good at this!” will be enough to hype herself up for the event.
Yoee also discussed how it’s important for people to be constantly working to improve themselves through self-cultivation. Over her life, Yoee has noticed that a person’s inner persona often has tremendous effects on their speech and action. “For example, if a person is accustomed to swearing,” she explained, “their natural intonation might be crass and vulgar. If a person is generally negative, the wording he uses will often be more pessimistic.”
In pursuit of becoming the best MC, Ms Leung spends a great deal of time on improving herself. By reading and interacting with new concepts, she learns more interesting things about the world, which helps her make more valid and persuasive points in her speeches. The more time she spends on building herself on the inside, the more rejuvenated and motivated she feels.
Aside from being a professional emcee, she also published the series “I Want To Be A Master Of Ceremony” on skills of event hosting, and all proceeds gained from the series went to help the children with congenital heart disease in mainland China.
Yoee gave a lot of thought when considering whom to donate her money to. “Compared to well-known and bigger NGOs, smaller NGOs don’t have nearly as much funding. When I'm donating my proceeds, I hope that they can actually go and help those in need. And as I know for a fact that this is actually a trustworthy foundation, I know that the proceeds go nowhere but straight to surgeries.”
She also liked that she could see her money and effort paying off with real results. “During my trip to visit the children in Yunnan, I vividly remember that before the surgery, the poor children couldn’t even walk out of the house for ten minutes before their fingers turned a sickly shade of purple due to the lack of blood flow. Luckily, after the surgery, they recovered tremendously.”
With that in mind, it’s safe to say that Ms Leung is a very selfless and generous person. She has never wished for something materialistic in return, and the only thing she’s focusing on is helping the poor children to the best of her abilities. To drive home her point, she turns to an old Chinese saying, roughly translated as ”the roses in her hand, the fragrance lingers on my hands.” The joy of giving is far superior than the joy of receiving, as the joy of receiving is not true joy. What Ms Leung received was a renewed perspective of the world.
And on that note, Ms Leung’s talk has truly helped students understand the joys of public speaking as well as tips on speaking with the valuable advice she has provided. Hopefully we as students could wholeheartedly appreciate her prowess in the art of language and speaking and emulate her techniques in the future.