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Preparing the Empowered Witness: Moving Beyond the Traditions to Foster Assertive, Effective, and Authentic Testimony

Employing Common Sense, Emotional Intelligence, and Effective Techniques

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Monday, September 28, 2020

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will show litigators new strategies and techniques to prepare witnesses to testify with credibility and power, even when the facts aren’t ideal and the cross-examination is fierce.


Traditional witness preparation methods are often guided by the assumption that witnesses cannot be trusted to speak for themselves and must be controlled tightly by counsel. That belief has too-often been passed down unquestioned to generations of new lawyers. By default, too many attorneys still instruct witnesses to provide as little information as possible, instilling fear that a stray word may sink the case.

Such tactics can be counter-productive. They yield a fearful, stilted witness and monosyllabic answers that appear evasive the fact finder. At worst, the witness comes across as powerless and disingenuous.

A better, more effective, and more enlightened approach empowers the witness to provide authentic responses and compelling testimony that advances the case. Adapting to the witness’s own style and circumstances, attorneys can train the witness to strategically understand and react to questions in order to highlight their own “personal best” when it comes to both the style and the substance of testimony.

Listen as Ken Broda-Bahm, Ph.D., Senior Litigation Consultant at Persuasion Strategies, describes and provides concrete examples of techniques litigators can use to teach witnesses the skills and confidence to answer in ways that are simultaneously, honest, assertive, and protective of your case.



  1. Overview and pitfalls of the traditional approach
  2. Safely increasing witness assertiveness, confidence, and competence
  3. Common issues
    1. Leading questions
    2. Ambiguous questions
    3. Assumptions in questions
    4. Restricted choice questions
    5. Faulty memory
  4. Practicing direct and cross-examination


The panelist will review these and other crucial issues:

  • Why the traditional approach often backfires
  • What evidence exists that giving witnesses more leeway produces better results?
  • What are the benefits of empowering witnesses?
  • What kinds of personalities are best suited to new approaches?


Broda-Bahm, Ken
Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm, Ph.D.

Senior Litigation Consultant
Persuasion Strategies

Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm has provided research and strategic advice on several hundred cases across the country for the past...  |  Read More

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