Over the past 40 years, I’ve seen my share of depositions. It’s always interesting to me how the energy level in the room can vary so much from depo to depo. I recently was thinking about the issue and I figured it might be an interesting topic for our clients. After all, the better prepared and engaged your witness is, the better information he or she will convey during the deposition.
A tired witness may forget important details, misunderstand a question, or give the wrong answer altogether. Here are some tips to help pep up the energy level (and effectiveness of the deposition testimony) by your client:
Hearty and Healthy Breakfast.
Encourage your client to remember a hearty and healthy breakfast. Skipping the morning meal can lead to fatigue, hunger and a decrease in energy levels (especially during a less than exciting Q&A session). A well-balanced meal in the morning is a great way to help ensure that your witness will be poised and ready for whatever counsel may throw their way.
Drink SOME Coffee.
Drinking too much coffee (caffeine) before or during a deposition can actually lead to an energy crash. One cup, however, seems to be a good amount to have prior to a deposition. Energy is good; however, the jitters and energy crash from too much caffeine are not helpful when it comes to your client’s performance during a deposition.
Get Enough Sleep.
Everyone agrees that sleep is important. However, when we’re stressed or under pressure (like a witness may feel the night prior to a scheduled deposition), it might be tempting to stay up late and rehash the details of the case in their mind over and over. It’s important to assure your client that he or she will do just fine, but also remind them to get enough sleep. A rested witness is a more productive witness.
Snacking Can Ward Off The Sandman.
If your client will be deposed in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon, make sure to have some healthy snacks available to help curb hunger and offer a boost in energy levels. The best type of snack for this would be one that is high in fiber and protein. One example might be having some healthy crackers and low-fat cheese slices. Tossing in some fruit for good measure will provide a well-rounded snack and will help wake up the palate. Try to avoid sugary candy bars or other sweets that will create an initial spike and then drop in energy levels.
Some folks might think that having an alcoholic drink or two might help calm the nerves. Advise your witness to avoid this at all costs. Alcohol is a depressant and can reduce energy levels. Remind them that they will be under oath and must be sober during the deposition.
Drink Plenty Of Water.
With everything else your client has on their mind, they might forget to drink enough water. Remind them that even mild dehydration can result in sleepiness and lethargy. Keeping the body hydrated is a great way to improve performance during a deposition. If possible, have bottles (or glasses) of water available throughout the day.
Cleansing Breaths Can Boost Energy.
Encourage your client to take a few cleansing breaths each hour, even starting with the night before a deposition. Breathing from the diaphragm will help blood flow and can go a long way in boosting energy throughout the day.
Let’s face it, your client has one chance to set the record straight. There are many variables which are out of your control, but maybe these simple tips can help improve your client’s energy and can go a long way in maximizing the quality of their deposition. Who knows, maybe some of these tips will help your performance as well!
If you enjoyed this article, you may also like, 7 Deposition Tips Court Reporters Want Attorneys to Know