Surviving the Witness Box – Tips to improve your court skills and how to become an impressive witness

As social care professionals you undertake a very difficult job and yet the mere thought of going to court can raise anxieties and fears even in the most experienced professionals. The reality is, that however challenging, attending court is part of a social care professional’s job. Feeling nervous is natural, but the skill is not to show your fear.


3 Tips to improve your court skills

One of the ways to increase confidence and hide your anxiety is to concentrate on your appearance, not only in what you wear but how you present yourself. Here are a few small changes you can make to give that appearance of confidence irrespective of how you may actually be feeling.

1. Confident Posture

By sitting or standing up ‘straight’ and using our posture we appear more present and engaged. All this involves, as any good osteopath will tell you, is aligning your spine. We never actually stand or sit completely ‘straight’ as the spine is, of course, curved, but by drawing ourselves up we create the impression of confidence and presence.

Also keep your movements calm and deliberate and be aware of any fidgeting that can undermine your self-assurance.

Sitting up straight also helps with breathing – see next tip.

2 Confident Breathing

In moments of stress or anxiety one of the first things to change in us is our breathing. When you are feeling confident you breathe slowly, regularly and efficiently, engaging the primary muscle of respiration, the diaphragm. When we are feeling anxious our breathing becomes shallow, and frequent. In order to reduce your anxiety, try to slow down your breathing and remember to breathe in a regular and relaxed way. Don’t be tempted to take too may short breaths that can be noticeable and may make others sense your anxiety.

judge-home3. Confident speaking

The third aspect of instilling confidence in court is how you use your voice. Remember in court, you need to be heard. It is essential that you do not shout but project your voice so that you can be heard by the Judge and others in court. Never come across argumentative or aggressive in your tone but be sure to present your answers in an assertive and confident way.

These three simple techniques that demonstrate physical confidence are by no means the full range available but they are some of the quickest to assist you immediately in court and therefore very effective.

If you want to know more please enter your details on our mailing list and you will be receive information of our next court skills event. The last free session on how to survive the witness box was presented by Shefali Shah at the Community Care Live event in the Mock Court and hear about how to improve your confidence in court.

How we can help

We hope to see you at our next training event, however if you cannot attend
or if require more detailed training on improving your court skills including dealing with cross examination, please contact us. We are specialist in providing legal and social care training, so If you would like bespoke and practical skilled based training on court skills or any other subject please contact us at or 01908 969 039

Copyright: The content of this legal briefing is copyright of Kingsley Knight. It can be printed and downloaded free of charge in an unaltered form on a temporary basis, for personal use or reference purposes. However it is prohibited for any content printed or downloaded to be sold, licensed, transferred, copied or reproduced in whole or in part in any manner or in or on any media to any person without the prior consent of Kingsley Knight

Disclaimer: The contents of this guide are for information and is not intended to be relied upon as legal advice.

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