Have you been in a conversation when one person talks over the other? It?s difficult to understand what each person is saying and you might miss points they?re each trying to make.
What does it feel like to be the observer of an argument? Or worse, to be in the middle of one? It?s uncomfortable. It may even come to the point where no one knows how it got started and the best choice is to stop arguing.
Whether it?s missing parts of conversation or being uncomfortable, your court reporter has likely experienced these and more habits that can ruin a deposition.
One at a Time
No matter your role at the deposition, our court reporters request that you each speak one at a time. It?s the only proven way we can record an accurate account of what?s happening. When you speak over each other, even if we can put the bits and pieces of conversation together, we?re left with a transcript that may not make sense to anyone, including you.
When I was growing up I had a brother whose volume would get louder if he felt his point in a family discussion wasn?t being heard. Don?t let that happen to you or your witness! As long as the reporter can hear you at a reasonable volume, there?s no need to yell.
Use your words
We live in a society of texting and short cuts but when you?re in a courtroom setting, remember you?ve got to speak using real words. Umms, uh-huhs, ahhs, and nodding can?t be transcribed.
It?s likely someone will ask you to verbalize and that only serves to waste time. If you?re an attorney, we urge you to coach witnesses on these finer points of being a witness.
If you?re an expert witness, please speak clearly. Remember that while reporter may be familiar with technical terms, don?t assume they know everything you?re saying. Be patient as they may need to ask for clarification.
The court reporter may be the quietest person in the room but we?re also observing and recording everything that?s being said to preserve it for the record. Remember that the next time you want to speak over or argue with a witness or opposing counsel. Habits that can ruin a deposition can also ruin your relationship with a valued Phoenix court reporter!