One of the most nerve-wracking experiences that the person who suffers from performance anxiety can endure is testifying in court. Even for the individual who is slightly nervous about speaking in public, the courtroom can be a shock to the system. With the TalkPower program, I have worked with police officers, detectives, psychiatrists, and forensic experts who suffered from intense anticipatory anxiety and public speaking phobia no matter how many times they had performed this service. TalkPower exercises were a lifesaver for them. I am sure they will be for you if you practice these procedures with discipline and dedication.
- Make a list of the questions that you anticipate will be asked of you, or if your attorney has given you those questions, so much the better. Of course, you understand that questions will probably be asked that you do not expect.
- Write out a brief answer to each question including those that you are not sure about. If you do not have an answer to one of these questions, please ask your attorney how he would suggest you answer the question. Make sure that you answer only the questions you are asked and force yourself to stop talking. DO NOT volunteer any additional information: not in your rehearsal and not, heaven forbid, in court.
- Do the basic pre-rehearsal routine beginning with the breathing exercise (see Lesson 1 or purchase “The New TalkPower” book for more details).
- After your breathing exercise, stand up and walk to the front of the room and face your imaginary audience.
- Squeeze your toes three times and ask yourself the first question. Squeeze your toes three times and read your answer to the question out loud. (In answering a question, don’t forget to repeat the question before you answer to give yourself time to frame your reply carefully). It’s very important to know when to stop speaking. As soon as you have answered the question, even if you feel that you have to explain further and want to continue talking, force yourself to stop. If an explanation is necessary, your attorney will ask you for it.
- Since this is a rehearsal, you can allow yourself the luxury of speaking slowly. Do not try to rush your rehearsal responses. The slower, the better. As Michael Kane said in giving advice to a young actor “speak low, speak slow and don’t talk too much.”
- Repeat this rehearsal procedure once a day for five days before your scheduled appointment in court. If possible, do this at the same time each day.