When you are called to testify at a deposition, you need to know how to handle the questions that are going to be posed to you during the process. Here are four strategies that will help you be a great deposition witness.
#1 Know Your Rights
The first thing that you need to know is that you have rights. You don't have to sit there and answer endless questions all day. You can ask the attorney to only ask you one question at a time, for example, if they start to ask you a string of questions. You can ask the attorney to clarify or reword any questions that you don't understand.
If you need a break, you can ask to take a bathroom break, meal break, or let them know that you are done for the day if the deposition has been going on for an extensive period of time.
You also have the right to have an attorney there who represents you and looks out for your rights and protects you from unnecessary or unfair questions.
#2 Prep For The Deposition
Second, you should prepare for the deposition. Go over any written documents, audio or video files that you have in your possession or access to that will help you remember the events that you are going to be asked about.
Practice with your attorney or a friend answering questions about the event in question that you are being called to testify about. While you practice answering questions, work on only answering the question that is being asked. Work on not defending yourself or arguing your case; your main job is just to tell the facts in a straightforward manner.
#3 Keep Calm
Be aware the the questioning attorney may try to bait you and get you emotional, so that you defend yourself and overshare information or a reaction that could harm the overall case. Keep cool and calm, and remember your job is to share the facts, not your feelings or opinion. If you feel like you can't keep your emotions in check, remember you can ask to take a break and then resume questioning when you have things better under control.
#4 Speak Clearly
Finally, remember that your words are being recorded by a court report and the deposition is also being videotaped as well, making it important for you to speak clearly so that everything you say is recorded and taken down correctly. If you tend to get shy and quiet, practice on enunciating before the deposition so you feel more comfortable during the actual deposition.
Talk to a lawyer, like Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates LLC, for more help.