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Upcoming Video Deposition? Here are Tips on Some Behaviors to Avoid.

Dos and Don'ts when it comes to behaviors to avoid during video deposition

Video depositions offer unique benefits that aren’t available if you opt only to use a written record of a deposition. They’re much more captivating records of testimony to present to the court if the witness is unable to testify at trial. When showing that a witness has contradicted prior testimony offered in a deposition, presenting the court with excerpts of a video deposition so that the judge or jury can watch contradictory information come from the witness’ mouth can also serve as particularly compelling evidence of that contradiction. However, there are certain behaviors that should be avoided in order to ensure a successful trial.

Whether you’re an experienced attorney with dozens of depositions under your belt or you’re new to the field, conducting your first video-recorded deposition can feel foreign and intimidating. In fact, video depositions require you to give your attention to an entirely new set of factors that do not come up when a deposition is recorded only in a transcript. Video depositions offer viewers far more information about both the testifying witness and the attorneys conducting or defending the deposition, all communicated nonverbally. In the same way that you want to exert as much control as possible over what information is conveyed verbally that will end up in the official transcript, you’ll also need to consider how to control what nonverbal information will become a part of the video record.

Here is a list of the sorts of behaviors and nonverbal information to become aware of –and avoid—during a video deposition, whether you’re taking or defending:

  1. Fidgeting can reduce credibility: Become aware of whether you or your witness tend to fidget or squirm. While it might not be noticeable in the moment, someone carefully watching the deposition later will be on the lookout for these sorts of nonverbal cues. Fidgeting or constantly shifting position can make an attorney or witness appear nervous, uncomfortable, or even as though they’re hiding something.
  2. Emotional outbursts will become more obvious: In a written transcript, written words may not convey the tone and intensity of the speaker when those words were spoken. A video deposition will make it painfully clear when someone has lost their cool and lashed out at another person, which can make them appear as though they’re losing the fight.
  3. Pay attention to your nonverbal communication with your witness or other attorneys: A written deposition transcript will not capture each moment where you looked nervously at your witness while they said something they shouldn’t or exchanged a knowing eye-roll with co-counsel, but a video will. Don’t do anything that you wouldn’t want to have to watch played back to you in court.

If you need seasoned, skilled, and detail-oriented Arizona court reporters for your video deposition or other litigation support needs, contact the Phoenix court reporters Ottmar & Associates at 602-485-1488.