Body language is a crucial part of human communication and it can influence your deposition performance. Whether you’re bouncing your leg under the table or tilting your head in confusion, these little motions will change how you are perceived by other deposition participants. In fact, studies have even shown that juries respond to nonverbal cues in deposition video, which could influence the outcome of your case.
To help you prepare for success, we’ve put together the following article explaining how your body positions and gestures could impact your deposition:
Postures & Positioning
Good posture is a must-have for any attorney because it is one of the most obvious nonverbal cues. When you sit up straight, you’ll be perceived as more engaged and energetic. On the other hand, slouching indicates that you are too relaxed and it can make you look defeated.
Try to keep your posture in mind as you prepare for your next deposition. If you’re conducting a virtual deposition, set up your video to frame your face and upper body. While your audience won’t have a full-length view, your posture will still translate on camera. For in-person depositions, be sure your feet are planted firmly on the ground and your spine is erect and in alignment. You can rest your hands on surfaces or tables in front of you.
Active Listening/Lean In
During any deposition, active listening is required – however, it’s particularly important during a virtual deposition. If you’re sitting motionless and silent, other participants may be concerned that your connection has dropped or their screen has frozen. Treat the conversation as you would if the person was in front of you. Don’t be afraid to give the occasional nod or head tilt to indicate that you’re engaged and actively listening.
Consider Your Clothing
While it may not seem like clothing should fall under the umbrella of body language, it can be more important than you might think. Every aspect of your appearance influences how you are perceived by others. In a courtroom setting, you should always try to look and feel professional. At the same time, you shouldn’t force yourself to wear anything that causes significant discomfort. When you’re uncomfortable, it creates a distraction and interrupts your focus. You’re also significantly more likely to fiddle with uncomfortable pieces of clothing, which can be perceived as a nervous motion.
In traditional depositions, it’s relatively easy to maintain eye contact with your witness. In a virtual deposition, you’ll need to make an effort to shift your gaze between the screen and the camera. By looking into the camera, you’ll appear to be making direct eye contact with the speaker.
Gestures & Movements
Many people enjoy punctuating their stories with sweeping hand gestures. While these gestures are mostly harmless during an in-person deposition, any overdramatic motions might not fully register on camera for a video deposition. If you know that you need gestures to communicate your point or if you can’t prevent yourself from gesturing, allow that to influence your camera placement. Remember: the audience should always be able to see your face, even when gesturing.
Facial expressions are also a form of body language and should be monitored as well. You’ll want to pay particular attention to facial expressions if the deposition is being recorded. Upon playback, something that seems like a minor, off-the-cuff reaction may appear highly exaggerated on video. For that reason, you’ll want to remain calm and neutral in your expressions
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article, let us know in the comments, and feel free to share it on social media. Lastly, when you plan your next deposition, don’t forget to take advantage of our plentiful deposition tools, including remote court reporting, concierge remote exhibit management, remote videography, and full-time tech support for your remote depositions, arbitrations, court hearings, trials, and other proceedings.