Whether you are the witness to a crime, a character witness, or a consultant brought in to bring expertise, there are certain things you need to do to prepare for a trial. It can be nerve-wracking, seeing the judge, jury, and both sets of lawyers staring at you as your words are analyzed. In order to be the most help and the best witness you can be, you need to do a few things to provide expert witness testimony.
First, treat witnessing like a stage role. Go over what happened if you witnessed a crime and try to remember as many details as you can, and be sure to tell the truth. Don’t argue, trip over yourself, or try to spin the truth to help one side. Listen to the question and wait until the whole question is asked, and then answer only that question.
Being asked questions on command can be a major rattler for many people, but don’t be afraid to take a deep breath and take your time before answering every question. Also, understand that lawyers are human beings too, and you can ask them for clarification on what a question means. They won’t attack you and will help you understand what is being asked.
Finally, you don’t have to answer every question with a yes or no. If you don’t remember what happened or don’t know something, then say so, because guessing can only cause more problems. If you have any other notes or statements, review them and ensure you have the events or story straight, because even the smallest missteps can cause doubt on the case.
As long as you are cooperative while also remaining truthful, then everything will be okay. Relax, don’t be adversarial, and try to keep your testimony consistent. Being a good witness on the stand will only make your testimony more powerful.