You may encounter a number of situations where a recorded statement is crucial to solidifying or proving your case: For instance, if you lend money to another party, a recorded statement can act as further proof of the debt; if an incident occurs, getting a recorded statement from a witness will help you prove your case. If you need to record a statement by another individual, you must follow a clear-cut procedure that ensures that you get the exact information you need, while showing respect to the other individual.
Prepare a detailed list of questions you wish to ask the other person. Write the questions down so that you won’t forget them. Estimate the amount of time it will take you to record the statement.
Notify the other party that you intend to record his statement. In some states, it is a requirement that you give this notification, or else the statement may not be admissible in an official proceeding.
Ask your subject to speak clearly and slowly when responding to your questions regarding the situation. Provide him with the estimated amount of time that it will take to finish the session.
Start recording. State your full name, title and that you are recording a taped statement with another individual (state his full name and title as well). Say the current date and time as well.
Identify the overall issue that has prompted the need for this statement. For instance, if an incident had occurred in public and you’re taking a witness statement, state the general details regarding what happened, including the date, time, place and names of involved parties.
Proceed with your questions to the other person. Place the recorder in front of the other person so that the tape clearly captures his voice. Ask one question at a time and allow the individual ample time to reply before proceeding to the next question. Do not involve yourself in the conversation emotionally or make comments -- stick to a formal question and answer format.
Close the recording by asking the other individual if he has any other issues or statements he would like to make regarding the situation. Ask if he has given a statement that is true to the best of his knowledge and to confirm that he is aware that the statement has been recorded. Ask if you have his full permission to record the statement and use it for your needs.
Thank the other individual for his statement and close the discussion.
Remove all distractions from the room before taking the recorded statement.
Tape a quick recording of both your voice and that of the other person to confirm that the tape picks up audio clearly. You may have to use a microphone like a reporter if there are sound issues.