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How Do Court Reporters Keep a Straight Face?

By admin / June 27, 2019

Court reporters hear all kinds of interesting things in the courtroom, and some of them can be pretty funny. In one exchange circling the internet, a lawyer asks a witness her date of birth, to which she responds “July 18th.” And when the attorney asks what year, she responds “Every year.” Just imagine listening intently enough to this conversation to transcribe it and trying not to laugh. 

Court reporters perform a specific job. And if you’ll think about any court case you’ve seen broadcast, you probably don’t remember them at all. That’s because they’re trained to sit silently and meticulously record every word spoken by everyone in the room. They’re there only to observe and never have an opinion. In other words, it’s important for court reporters not to show emotion or cause distractions with their own reactions. But how do they do it?

Be prepared

The truth is that so few eyes are on the court reporter, that no one will likely notice a slight change in expression. What’s important is to keep your emotions in check so that you don’t laugh out loud or make any dramatic expressions that could draw attention to yourself. The cameras might be on you, after all, and no one wants to be the subject of a funny clip that shows up on social media.

One of the best ways to keep your emotions at bay is to be prepared for any situation. Remind yourself ahead of time that you will possibly hear shocking, funny, or disturbing things, and you can’t to react to them. 

Network with other professionals

Letting loose and laughing with friends is great for your mental health. But try to also regularly network with other professionals at professional functions. A good way to do this is to become a part of an agency, such as Brickell Key Court Reporting

It might not seem important to network once you already have a job, but studies show that most people act like the ones they hang around. In other words, if you surround yourself with immature people given to sudden outbursts, you might find it harder to keep your thoughts hidden. So, do your best to hang around other professionals. You might even be able to ask them for some of their best tips for keeping a straight face on the job.

Master some pro techniques

People who act on stage, give speeches, or participate in public performance have to learn techniques to help them maintain their composure. One of those techniques is to purse your lips into a small “O” shape. This keeps any expression from showing up on your face. Another trick is to literally bite your tongue just hard enough to keep from giggling. And lastly, don’t look at the audience. Or in this case, anyone else in the courtroom. For court reporters, this shouldn’t be difficult because they have to remain so focused on their task.

Educate yourself on the subject matter of the trial

You don’t need to know a lot about the matters being tried to do a good job, but learning a little about it can help absorb some of the shock factor. For example, a medical malpractice attorney might use graphic terminology or show graphic images of a plaintiff who was disfigured by an incompetent surgeon. In these cases, the facial expression you might need to control is disgust or horror. But if you study up on the terminology being used and some photos you might find online, you can partially desensitize yourself to what you’re about to encounter.

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