Ten Tips on How to Make a Good Impression in Court

January 11, 2022 by No Comments

We know that first impressions last and influence our behaviour. We should not go out of our way to try to impress someone, but we should be aware that our demeanour will be noticed. When it comes to courtroom demeanour, a first good impression will imprint an image of you in the mind of the judge (or jurors) and may have an influence on the outcome of your case. In theory, judges and jurors are supposed to be unbiased and neutral, but in reality they are influenced by external stimuli, just like you and I. They are not only influenced by what they hear; your overall appearance, body language, the tone of voice and the way you go about asking and answering questions will have an impact on your case.

1. Be clean. Nothing is more offensive than a bad body odour; it creates a negative aura around the person and conveys the image of someone with low self-esteem and lack cheap dab recyclers of confidence. I cannot emphasize enough how important cleanliness is. Even if you cannot afford to buy soap, a quick shower with just water will do the job. And for men, don’t forget to shave, unless you are prevented for religious reasons.

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2. Wear clean clothes. You will be at a close proximity with court staff, lawyers and witnesses. Most of us are tactful and we will not comment on the smell that radiates from your clothes, but we cannot help noticing it. If you have to ‘take the stand’, that is to testify, you may be very close to the judge, and odour of your body and your clothes will fill the air between you and the judge. Clean your clothes every day so you wear clean clothes in court.

3. Avoid flashy patterns and eccentric styles. There are studies on how juries and judges are influenced, and the style and colour of your clothes are some of those elements. Avoid dark browns, colourful patterns and populated styles. a. For men, I suggest plain blue or grey jackets with grey pants and white shirt. Some of my clients ask me if they should wear a tie. My response to that is ‘it depends’. If you are always dress casual, avoid the tie because it will convey a message that is not really you; you are not there to impress. You are there to win your case. Be unpretentious. If you don’t like blazers, and the weather permits it, wear a light cotton sweater. If you are a businessman or professional who wears ties to work every day, by no means, put on a tie; but it should be a plain tie that will match your clothes. b. For women, I also suggest plain colours and clothes that are not too tied. As for colours, women can be a little more adventurous, but if you want to play it safe, wear plain patterns and avoid pinks or reds.

4. Cultivate an elastic voice. When you get up in the morning getting ready for court, practice singing the following: ding, dong, bing, bong, king, kong, alternating between low and high tones. Try it…diiiinggg, dooongg, bingiiiing, boooong, kiiiingggg,kooongg, loud, louder and then deep and slow. Your voice will become elastic and when you speak in court, everyone will hear you. When speaking to the judge or the witnesses, modify the pitch of your voice to suit the distance between you and the listener. If you have to ‘speak up’ then do speak up. Too often, soft voices are associated with nervousness and shyness, and the judges are sensitive to that and they will try to make you feel comfortable. For impact, however, vary the tone of your voice as you emphasize parts of your testimony.

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