As stated earlier, every time you testify, it should be viewed as an opportunity to improve your skills as a witness. The review facet allows for just such an opportunity.

When one completes their testimony, one should confer with other, more experienced, members of the discipline and discuss strategies.

Introducing the exhibit to the jury

Figure 6.3 Introducing the exhibit to the jury.

Compare notes between what you did and what the more experienced examiner/witness has done. If possible, request a copy of the transcript for review and to share with other members of the discipline. Where possible, a member of your unit, a peer or supervisor, should also be present in court during the proceeding to conduct an evaluation of the examiner/witness testimony and court presentation. Questions you should ask are as follows: What can I do to better present testimony in the future? Were the court exhibits properly presented and understandable? Was my appearance appropriate and professional? Did I use appropriate and understandable language? What is it that I do not want to do in the future? The review phase of the court process is very valuable as an educational tool. But remember, we are our own worst critics. Do not be unreasonably hard on yourself. Do not be unreasonably critical. Do not analyze the “what if s.” You can “what if’ yourself to death, figuratively speaking. Do not assume a defeatist attitude. After all, we are all human and we make mistakes. We want to minimize any mistakes to lessen the negative impact on a case.

Ultimately, if one assumes a professional posture and practices accordingly, one will not experience the shortcomings of an unprofessional, unprepared examiner/witness. Practice is the key to success. If examiners keep that thought in mind, their future will be positive. To accelerate the learning curve of testifying in court, there are many courtroom testimony courses available. The examiner/witness should, as early as possible, enroll in a courtroom testimony course. How better to become proficient than by practice and training? To borrow an adage from a colleague who appropriately describes the feeling of testifying, “There’s nothing wrong with having butterflies in your stomach as long as they are flying in formation.”

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