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Eight Tips for Being a Great Witness

1. Be honest.
This is the number one rule to being a witness. Just tell the truth. Don’t leave details out just because you know they might hurt your case. You are under oath, so tell the truth, even if that means admitting some facts that might hurt your case. It is much better to admit some facts that hurt you than to lie about them and have the opposing attorney catch you in your lie. Jurors don’t trust people who lie.

2. Just be yourself.
Jurors expect that a witness may be nervous when testifying. This is natural. Once you start speaking, you will become more comfortable, as long as you follow the advice to just be yourself and to tell the truth.

3. Remain cool, calm, and collected.
You have probably seen TV shows or movies where a lawyer gets a witness to fall apart on the witness stand by getting the witness to lose his or her temper and explode in anger and say something he or she didn’t want to reveal. Don’t let that be you. Keep your cool and answer the opposing lawyer politely, even if you are seething on the inside.

4. Listen carefully, then respond thoughtfully.
Take a deep breath and try to relax on the witness stand. Nobody is in any hurry. You don’t have to try to predict what the next question will be or give any information without being asked for it. That’s why it’s important to listen carefully to each question, then take your time giving the answer to that specific question.

5. Speak clearly, and do not mumble.
Give “Yes” and “No” answers, rather than nodding or saying “Yeah” or “Umm”

6. Don’t exaggerate or fake injuries.
For example, if you have a limp, don’t exaggerate it. Jurors will detect the fake gesture and will wonder in what other ways you are trying to deceive them.

7. Make eye contact with the jurors.
Pretend the jurors are your close friends or relatives. Jurors are more likely to find your story trustworthy if you can make eye contact with them.

8. Do not turn to your lawyer for help while you are on the witness stand.
This makes the jury suspicious because they wonder why you can’t or don’t want to answer the question on your own.

For help with your personal injury case, call Orange County personal injury lawyer Samer Habbas for a free initial consultation.