We are celebrating this week, having set a record for reporting the most depositions in one week since our inception in 1987.
This milestone is solely attributed to you, our client, because you continue to allow us to provide you with court reporting services, either locally or nationwide.
Besides including articles on working with witnesses and e-discovery, we are re-running an article which includes tips for taking an out-of-town deposition. Out-of-town depositions, in many cases, are a part of your practice, and, if not handled properly, can be stressful and costly.
I hope you find this month’s issue helpful, and I sincerely thank you for your business.
Dealing with Witness Anxiety
By Brad Bradshaw, Bradshaw Litigation Consulting, Nashville, Tennessee
For most people, testifying under oath is an anxiety provoking experience. However, there is nothing wrong with a witness being a little nervous.
From an evolutionary perspective, anxiety is an innate function that plays a vital role in survival. That is, anxiety is a heightened state of awareness that prepares a person to react to the environment (i.e., fight or flight). The same applies to witnesses. A little anxiety helps witnesses maintain focus. Once the anxiety subsides, and the witness lets his guard down, he is more likely to make mistakes. So even if you could eliminate all of a witness’s anxiety about testifying, why would you want to? Witness anxiety is only a problem when it interferes with the ability to communicate. Therefore, the focus should be on controlling anxiety – not eliminating it.
Always start by explaining to your witness that, with very few exceptions, the only witnesses who do not get nervous are experts (who testify for a living) and sociopaths (who have no conscience). Let’s assume your witness does not fall into either of these categories.
The main causes of witness anxiety are the fear of the unknown, the fear public speaking, and the fear of ruining the case.