If your witness’ credibility has been impugned, the impact of their testimony goes from helping your case to having a negligible impact at best and destroying it at worst. And it doesn’t even have to be because of anything negative that your witness actually did or said; just the appearance of impropriety or ineptitude can be enough to sway a jury.
That’s why it’s important that you work with your witness to help establish a credible mien and avoid common pitfalls that can lose them a jury’s confidence. Start with these three tips.
1: Inconsistency is the same as lying.
Make sure your witness is prepared to give a cogent and precise testimony. If they flub minor details, it can mean major damage for your case. (See Rule of the Room #1: Never Lie.) A witness caught in a lie can look forward to shattered credibility, a destroyed case, and criminal charges on top of that. So make sure your witness doesn’t stumble into a lie, even unintentionally.
2: Be confident and approachable.
Your witness is your expert on a certain facet of the facts of your case, so he or she should be able to speak intelligently about it. Tongue-tied responses and nervous or furtive mannerisms can give a jury pause when considering the weight of your witness’ testimony later.
3: Stay level-headed!
The courtroom can be a high-pressure environment, especially for those unfamiliar with it. Your witness should be comfortable answering questions in that setting and prepared emotionally for the questions opposing counsel may ask. If a witness becomes overly or inappropriately emotional during question, it may prompt juries to question the witness’ motivation for testifying.
Prepare your witnesses with The Perfect Witness
The Perfect Witness’ online 1-hour course will give your witnesses the resources they need to give an effective, credible deposition. Learn more today and get your free attorney review session by clicking here.