This blog contains testimony tips for beginners. If this is your first time testifying at a deposition, remember the most important thing you can do is prepare and educate yourself on the upcoming events and your role in them.
Planning and preparing-
There is no question giving testimony adds a reasonable amount of stress to any first-timer’s case. We recommend that you practice with your attorney as well as alone. Your preparedness and your knowledge of what is to come is your most powerful tool you possess in keeping your cool.
Be honest and accurate-
Never let the line of questioning back you into a corner. It’s all right to say, “I don’t know” or ” I don’t remember.” Most witnesses believe they should know the answer already or that they have to remember while under the stress of questioning.
Understand the question fully before you answer-
Don’t answer anything until you know exactly what the question means and fully understand what you are being asked first. This is where you shouldn’t be afraid to ask the attorney to repeat or rephrase his question into terms you understand.
Assist your court reporter-
By waiting to answer for a few seconds after the attorney is done asking the question, this will make transcribing the deposition much easier for the court reporter, plus the added benefit of a few more seconds to think before you speak.
Try to make the best impression you can-
Try not to let the stress you may be feeling come off as annoyance or anger towards counsel or the line of questioning. This could make you look unfavorable or untrustworthy, when one of your goals during a deposition is to appear as a solid, likable and credible witness.