- TELL THE TRUTH - Honesty is the best policy. Telling the truth requires that you testify accurately about what you know. When you tell the truth and tell it accurately, no one can confuse you.
- REVIEW YOUR TESTIMONY-You should review all relevant documents and notes ahead of time
- UNDERSTAND THE QUESTION – Be sure that you understand the question before you attempt to give an answer. You cannot give a truthful and accurate answer unless you understand the question. If you do not understand the question, tell the lawyer and ask him to rephrase it.
- TAKE YOUR TIME – Give the question enough thought needed to understand it and form your answer, then give your answer.
- JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION – Only answer the question that is asked and then stop. Do not volunteer information. It is the lawyer’s job to ask the right questions.
- SPEAK CLEARLY – You need to speak distinctly and loud enough so you can be heard. Do not chew gum and keep your hands away from your mouth.
- GIVE AUDIBLE ANSWERS – Be sure to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’, do not nod your head or say ‘uh-huh’ or ‘hm-mmm.’
- BE COURTEOUS – Being courteous is one of the best ways to make a good impression on the court and jury. You can answer with ‘yes, sir’ or ‘no, ma’am’ and address the judge as ‘Your Honor.’
- BE SERIOUS - Avoid joking and wise cracks. A deposition and trial are serious matters.
- DO NOT GUESS – If you do not know the answer, say you do not know.
- DO NOT ARGUE – The lawyers have a right to question you. Be polite, but firm. If you give him smart talk or evasive answers, the judge may reprimand you.
- ESTIMATING – Beware of questions involving distance and time. If you make an estimate, make sure everyone understands that you are estimating.
- STOP TALKING WHEN AN OBJECTION IS MADE- The Judge or lawyer will tell you whether you should answer. If you forget the question, ask to have it repeated.
- YOUR APPEARANCE IS IMPORTANT- Come to court well-groomed and dressed appropriately. The way you dress and present yourself is a reflection of you. You want to be sure that your appearance does not distract the judge or jury from careful consideration of your testimony.