So you are going to be deposed... What now? Here are 5 keys to a successful deposition.
1) Be Honest. Answering each question honestly is imperative. That not only means providing truthful responses to the question presented, but also being honest with yourself if you do not know for sure. "I do not know" and "I do not remember" are 100% acceptable answers. Never guess.
2) Listen Closely. Listen carefully to each question that you are asked so you can understand what you are being asked. Lawyers often ask terrible questions, but sometimes that is intentional and paying close attention helps you determine what you are up against. Were any assumptions made in the question? Is the question really two questions combined into one? Does the question make complete sense to you?
3) Pause before you answer. Pausing after you hear the question not only helps you be an active listener and digest the question being asked, but it also gives your counsel a chance to raise an objection to the question.
4) Don't be afraid to ask. If you have any reservations about what was being asked (regardless of whether you did not hear it, you did not understand it, it did not make sense to you, you think it was a trick question, etc.), ask them to ask the question again or to re-phrase it differently.
5) Give a direct answer. Once you have a clear understanding of the question (after you have heard it, paused to digest it, and gotten any clarifications you need), answer it with a short and concise answer. DO NOT answer questions you are not asked, DO NOT elaborate, and DO NOT volunteer further information.
If you follow these simple steps, you will be well ahead of the game!