Episode #214 - Preparing Witnesses for Testimony at Trial

Steve Wood, Ph.D. talks about preparing witnesses for trial testimony. Steve mentions several key tips including teaching witnesses to take their time when responding both during direct examination and cross-examination. It is important for witnesses to be consistent with how much time they are taking to answer both direct and cross questions so jurors don't perceive any discrepancy. Taking time in answering also helps jurors who are hearing the information for the first time and need time to process the questions and responses. Steve also highlights the need for witnesses to have short, concise answers. Long, wordy responses will be difficult for the jury to follow. Witnesses need to look at the jury when giving their answers but must do it in a way that is comfortable both for them and for the jurors. Steve stresses how critical it is to prepare witnesses for any documents they will be shown at trial. They need to be given time to review documents they may be shown and should re-read their deposition testimony as well. Lastly, Steve talks about some misperceptions about jury selection and specific types of jurors.