If you will soon be testifying in court and have no prior experience with taking the witness stand, it’s understandable if your nerves are on edge. With that said, there are some best practices that you can follow to help ensure that your case is clear and convincing to the jury or the judge. Here are some tips to keep in mind that could help you when you finally get your big moment in court.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you have a good lawyer, he or she will most likely prep you for your testimony on the stand by asking you sample questions that could be brought up in the courtroom either by your attorney or the opposing side. But if you are still nervous about your day in court, you could try practicing your answers on your own as well. Ideally, find a mirror in the privacy of your home or set up a tape recorder, and practice your answers. Either pay attention to your expression and body language in the mirror or watch your tape recording afterwards. Make sure you demonstrate an air of confidence as you testify.
Answer Only the Question That Was Asked
A common problem some rookie witnesses have on the stand, especially under cross-examination, is to start rambling with their answer. When a lawyer asks you a question, answer as clearly but concisely as possible. Giving out more information than what was asked for could be a great way to give the other side some ammunition that they can then use against you.
Trust Your Attorney
Hopefully by the time you make it into court, you and your lawyer will know each other well. Have faith that when your attorney is questioning you that your game plan will work. If it seems like your lawyer is being dramatic or asking a question that might not immediately give a great answer, don’t panic. He or she is most likely setting up the questions in an order that will have the greatest emotional impact on the judge or jury. Stick to your script that you went over before the trial began and trust that your lawyer will lead you to victory.
Testifying in court for the first time can be intimidating. But if you go in prepared, you should have nothing to worry about. Practice your answers ahead of time, both with your attorney and on your own. Don’t give out too much information on the stand to the opposing attorney and answer the questions as concisely as possible. Trust that your own attorney knows what he or she is doing, even if they appear to be using a line of questioning that is not initially flattering to you. Stick to your practiced responses and things will turn out all right. Contact a local attorney today for more information.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.