HUMOUR is something that Chinese public speakers could develop to a greater extent as they tend to be too serious, says a veteran adjudicator of the Hong Kong Schools Speech Festival. ''Using humour is a wonderful way to get people to listen to us and to persuade others of our point of view,'' said Mr Sam McCready. ''It helps us to be more effective communicators.'' Mr McCready was judging in Class 194 - Public Speaking Solo Form Five section recently. He said he was most impressed by Elizabeth Holdefer's speech, the quality of her English and the way she dealt with the topic ''Fifty Years from Now'' from two points of view - how it would affect her personally and how it would affect the world. ''Moreover, she used humour in her delivery,'' the judge said, adding that he had no hesitation in picking Elizabeth as the winner of this class with 87 marks. Jade Lai Wing-yu of Wa Ying College was second with 86 marks and two contestants - Dennis Lai Ming-yeung of Ming Yin College and Gloria Cheung Sing-tak of Kei Yuen College, tied for third with 85 marks each. The 16-year-old first prize winner, a science student of Maryknoll Convent School, was pleased but surprised to learn that she had won because she thought Jade's speech was really good. Elizabeth guessed that what helped her win was her past experience with debating, which gave her more confidence and the support of family and friends. ''However, I didn't know that I would be so nervous speaking before the adjudicator, even though he seemed to be very nice. Because of this, I sometimes almost forgot my lines.'' Runner-up Jade also said she was scared before she got up to speak because she had tried hard and was hoping to do well. ''I am satisfied with my efforts, but I think I could do even better if I can improve my accent and pronunciation,'' she said. Mr McCready praised Jade's idea of reporting the future, as if she were a space traveller who had returned from a mission which took her 50 years into the future. ''That's exciting and imaginative and she really told me what the world might be like in the future. Imagination is her strength,'' he said. Mr McCready said the contestants could have used their imagination more and been lessfactual. ''But I was impressed by their intelligence, the level of research which some did and the quality of their spoken English and speech presentation techniques.''