How To Give The Perfect Deposition
Depositions are a standard part of any civil litigation. Set up as a question and answer session, this portion of a legal case provides both sides with essential testimony and other information. If you are involved in a trial, either as a plaintiff, defendant, or witness, you will likely have to give a deposition. By following best practices, you can answer every question calmly and thoroughly.
When it comes time for you to give your deposition, the opposing attorney will ask you a series of questions. While this usually happens in person, the deposition can be conducted remotely. It will be recorded so your answers can be used in court. Your attorney will be present during your statement, to object to improper questions, so don’t worry about answering questions that you don’t need to answer.
So, how do you give your best deposition? By following several best practices, you will give just the right amount of information in the most effective way possible.
Your personal presentation and behavior comes first, as how you present yourself is imperative. Be sure to dress professionally and keep your composure. According to research by Princeton University, a person may judge your trustworthiness in a tenth of a second. When a judge, jury, and opposing party are watching you, this is even more important. By staying calm and sitting up straight, the court will sense confidence rather than nerves.
Sharp communication skills are also key to giving a successful deposition. Be sure to practice active listening and hear the entire question. The average person listens at about 25% efficiency, but you need to listen more closely than that when an attorney is asking you an important question.
Once you begin to answer the question, only give the necessary information and answer the question exactly as it is asked. For example, if the lawyer asks you a yes-or-no question, only answer with “yes” or “no.” Avoid adjectives and hyperbole. And, of course, be sure to answer clearly and honestly. Any dishonesty or refusal to answer can lead to consequences, including contempt of court and perjury.
While answering these questions, it is important to expect the unexpected. Lawyers may ask tricky questions and cause you to accidentally give a misleading statement. These could include hypothetical situations and invitations to speculate, for example. With the right preparation, you will be ready for any question that a lawyer throws at you, giving a clear and effective deposition.