Normal to be Nervous
It is a day that you have been nervous about since you first got notice in the mail. You have a Court Date.
Even if you are looking forward to this date so you can have a final resolution of this matter, it is normal to be apprehensive because of the inherent uncertainty that you are facing.
Let’s discuss how you can set yourself up for success.
Dress for Success
Your appearance in Court can have a big impact on how you appear to the Court. The courtroom is a somber place and you should dress in a manner that shows respect for the Court and the process of justice.
This means no: basketball jerseys, shorts, flip-flops, baseball caps, or low-cut shirts. You aren’t expected to wear a suit or a dress, but wearing slacks with a shirt & tie, or a nice blouse, shows the Court and/or jury the proper respect and that you take this seriously.
Your Convincing Testimony
Your testimony must be convincing or else it may be seen as untruthful and cast you in a negative light. Although you may fancy yourself a convincing person, you may not be prepared to bear your soul on the witness stand.
Confident people are convincing. Think about what you are going to say and then say it with confidence. Clear speakers are convincing. Speak loudly and clearly so that everyone can hear you, however, speak slow enough so the court reporter can keep up while typing.
Pay Attention to Your Attorney
Hand-in-hand with your convincing testimony, be certain that you are answering the question that your attorney has asked, and not what you think they attorney is trying to get you to say. It is up to your attorney to ask the right questions.
When testifying, your attorney will attempt to shield you from inappropriate questions asked by your opponent. If you notice your attorney stand, or say “objection” then the best thing you can do is just stop talking.
The attorneys and Judge must confer to determine how to proceed, and if you answer the question over objection then you’ll negate the protection your attorney asking for.
This seems overly simple, but you need to remember to do it often, especially if you are testifying. Imagine that your breath is the space between paragraphs, and reading stories with paragraphs are much easier to understand than full pages of text.
Also, taking a deep breath from time to time will help to calm you down and make you appear more confident. Being calm is important because worrying doesn’t win trials.
–Authored by Matthew L. Harris, Esq.,
Matthew Harris Law, PLLC – Civil Litigation Division
1001 Main Street, Suite 200, Lubbock, Texas, 79401-3309
Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479