Being An Effective Witness In Your Case

Being an effective witness in your case can be very difficult.  However, as a witness, your voice is the one the judge or jury will rely upon to tell the story, so you need to be prepared. 

1.  Tell the  Truth:  Pause if you need to when considering the response, but do not say anything which you cannot verify. 

2.  Speak Appropriately:  Speak clearly and at a volume appropriate for the courtroom. A larger courtroom will necessitate a louder voice; a small courtroom, a softer voice.  Make sure you give audible answers as “uh huhs” and head nods can not be recorded. 

3.  Listen Carefully:  Always listen carefully to the questions and make sure you understand before answering. If you are unsure about a question, ask that it be repeated. 

4.  Be Aware:  Be aware of your body language; sit straight and tall in the witness chair. Be aware of your facial expressions; do not make distracting facial expressions. 

5.  Pause After Objections:  If an attorney makes an objection stop any response immediately, even if in mid-sentence. Upon an objection, if the judge says, “Sustained”, you should say nothing until the next question is asked of you. If the judge says, “overruled”, you may proceed to answer the question. 

Always be conscious of the fact that even when you are not on the witness stand, the judge or jury will be watching you. Make sure that you are making a favorable impression.