You’re going to be deposed. Chances are you’re pretty nervous. Then you’re told it’s going to be videotaped and the likelihood of anxiety is even higher.
Sometimes I forget not everyone is used to being in front of or comfortable speaking on camera like I am. After almost nine years in the news industry and now working as a legal videographer, it’s weird to not see a camera lens in your face and you learn to adjust here and there. So, before you are deposed on videotape, here are some tips that may help put your mind at ease.
- Wear comfortable clothing. Dress business casual and be sure it’s something you’re comfortable in. If you’re going to be testifying for a few hours, you don’t want to be thinking about how your clothes are fitting, or constantly adjusting your shirt so you can sit comfortably. If you’re the sweating kind, think about a lighter colored shirt. Try to steer clear of big logos or loud patterns. What you will say during your testimony is very important. You want the judge, jury, and lawyers paying attention to you, not distracted by what you’re wearing. In short, choose something you know fits well, is comfortable and is appropriate.
- Take your time to gather your thoughts and don’t think out loud. When you’re in “the spotlight,” being recorded or otherwise, one second feels like a lifetime. Take that second or two to keep yourself composed. It’s okay to think about what you’re going to say next. If you need to, ask the lawyer to repeat the question and then state your answer.
- Speak slowly. Pro tip: If you think you’re speaking slow enough, speak slower. When we’re nervous, more often than not it’s a habit to start speed-talking. The faster you speak, the quicker it’ll be over, right? Not so much. If you speak slowly and clearly, you won’t need to repeat yourself and you’ll find that you’re tripping less over your words. Your testimony is important, so make every word count.
- Be conversational. You’ll get most of your direction on how to answer questions from your lawyer, so I’ll just add this: You’re human. Remember to breathe, to blink. If you talk with your hands, don’t be afraid to move them around. Don’t make grand or obscene gestures, but some hand movement is just fine, especially if it helps you feel more like you when answering.
- Speak to the camera. Having a camera present and recording your every word can be very intimidating, but this is your moment to get your testimony said and your points made. If you ease up a bit and make eye contact with it, you’ll feel more like you’re having a conversation with a friend rather than feeling deposed or interrogated. You’ll want to make eye contact with those you are speaking with, but don’t avoid making eye contact with the camera either. You’ll connect with those watching just a bit more.
Finally, ask your attorney for advice if you still have questions or concerns. Your attorney is on your side and will always guide you based on their expertise that will ensure this experience will be a successful one. Know that regardless of how much you prepare, being nervous is a normal part of this process. Hopefully, these tips make for a pleasant outcome.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nicole Hart is a videographer and client support team member at M-F Reporting, Inc.