Keep the following in mind to be a good witness on your own behalf:
- Tell the truth. While this may not always be comfortable, it is critical if you want your testimony to be believed by the judge.
- Listen carefully to the complete question before thinking of your answer. Wait to consider your answer until after the full question is asked.
- Slow down. It is easy to speed up your speech when you are anxious. Taking your time with your answers ensures that the judge hears you and that the court reporter can accurately record your testimony.
- If you don’t understand a question or don’t know the answer, be sure to say so.
- If the question calls for a “yes” or “no” answer, simply say yes or no, then wait for the attorney to ask you the next question. If there is more you want to explain, remember that you have already told your attorney all of the important facts and he or she will make sure you are allowed to give any testimony significant in your case.
- Do not argue with the judge or the lawyers.
- Take your time. You may be asked some questions that call for a thoughtful response. If you need a moment to reflect on an answer before you give it, allow yourself that time.
- Stop speaking if an objection is made by one of the lawyers. Wait until the judge has decided whether to allow you to answer.