If you ever have the opportunity to testify in front of a judge, there are a few quick and easy tips to remember when you’re on the stand. Doing these things will ensure that your testimony goes smoothly, and although they shouldn’t be used in place of your attorney, prepping you to testify, these tips will help propel your case during trial:
- Only answer the questions that are asked of you.
- Don’t try to anticipate what your lawyer or the lawyer from the opposing side is getting ready to ask you.
- Remember, you aren’t there to have a conversation with the attorney questioning you.
You’re there to simply provide testimony. Give your responses and wait for the next question.
- DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR to issues irrelevant to the case by expounding upon things you weren't asked. Don’t ad-lib. Doing so may inadvertently open the door to information that the court doesn’t need to know or that your attorney doesn’t want you to be questioned about.
- If you don’t understand a question, verbalize that. Don’t answer based on what you think someone wants to hear. Only answer questions pertaining to your actual understanding about what you’re being asked.
- Take your time when speaking. Rushing your answers may cause you to give the wrong testimony. This is a marathon, not a race. Accuracy counts.
- Don’t allow your adversary’s attorney to confuse or upset you. Don’t assume that the questions the adversary’s attorney poses are straightforward, and don’t assume that what they say is true. Sometimes an adversarial attorney will try to lead you into giving an unfavorable answer. Think about your answer carefully before you provide it.