There are seven fundamentals to keep in mind to be an effective expert witness at trial. The expert should:
- Know the professional area.
- Do all of the homework for the case.
- Develop an individual style of delivery and demeanor.
- Be enthusiastic without being an advocate.
- Be prepared for cross-examination.
- Pattern oneself after a best teacher.
- Dress conservatively for court to fit the professional role.
The expert must be professionally competent and perform a thorough job of analysis, investigation, testing and reporting. Individual style and demeanor must be developed. The expert should display enthusiasm without advocacy. The expert will do well to pattern a style and delivery after exceptional teachers and be prepared to illustrate testimony graphically or with demonstrations.
Before actually testifying, the expert can mentally visualize the best possible performance as a witness. Use of the word "performance" is intentional because, in a way, the analyst is performing a key role in a real-life drama. The expert's credibility will be established by the effective use of teaching skills.