By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:
Let's say that you know little to nothing about the actual legal process outside the distorted Hollywood lens. But the one thing you do know is that you'll be testifying under oath at some point in the future. You'll be on the stand, or you'll be called in for deposition. Your counsel says not to worry, that it is too soon to start getting prepared, and that she'll be in touch once you get closer to the date...a date that could be months from now, or more. Are you a little nervous? Do you, perhaps, wish there was something you could do in the meantime in order to build some familiarity and confidence? Well, one thing you could do is seek out some general advice in order to know what the comfortable and prepared witness should aim for. As of this coming January, you'll have a new, tailored and effective resource to turn to. Crown King Books will be releasing The Articulate Witness: An Illustrated Guide to Testifying Confidently Under Oath by Brian K. Johnson and Marsha Hunter, two Minneapolis-based communications consultants. Based on a review copy I received, I can say that the book is concise and engaging, with a solid practical focus on the confidence-building behaviors needed by all witnesses.
The book is divided into four sections: "Behave Confidently," "Think Confidently," "Speak Confidently," and "Put It All Together." At just $8.99 for print and $6.99 electronic, I could see law offices wanting to have a large stock of these books on hand in order to distribute to all their witnesses (A note to the publisher: Consider bulk pricing). Having read the book, I'm devoting this post to highlighting a few of the advantages of the book, as well as a few limitations that, while not criticisms, are important for attorneys to take into account when recommending this book to their witnesses.