Episode #166 - Bad Words and Good Words in Testimony

Dr. Bill Kanasky, Jr. talks about a list of words that the brain normally doesn't think of as bad words but which can be really bad words if a witness says them, or agrees to them, in deposition or trial testimony. These are trap words that lock witnesses into inflexible positions and are a big reason why witness effectiveness training, prior to testimony, is crucial to litigation success. 

The Bad Word List (aka the anti-reptile word list): always/never; must/should; required/obligated/duty; insure/guarantee; every/everything/all; any/anything; risk/danger/harm/safety; well-being; priority; important; prevent; deviate; breach; violate. 

Each of these words eliminate judgment and circumstances and if written in policies and procedures can get you into trouble precisely because they remove judgment from the equation.

The Good Word List (words to use when appropriate during testimony): judgment; training; experience; appropriate; reasonable; sufficient; circumstances; situation. 

Words that are "Middle of the Road" Words (not necessarily good words nor bad words; use judiciously): potentially; maybe; possibly; sometimes; not necessarily.