Q. I’ve attended several of your seminars and notice you use only black and white backgrounds for your PowerPoint® presentation. Don’t misunderstand me. I love your seminars and find that I recall so much more of the information in the days and weeks following than I expected to. I do wonder the reason you avoid using a colored background. I’m visual and “color is good.”

A. Several years ago, a brain researcher told me about studies related to the use of a colored background on PowerPoint® slides. It seems that when the background is a color (unless it is a picture of nature) you increase the possibility that some of the participants may become distracted. Their brains may recall events, positive or negative, that involved the color that is used in the background. Whether this occurs at a conscious or subconscious level, their brains will be distracted. This can be especially true if any of those memories have an emotional component. Naturally, this can decrease their tendency to learn, retain, or practically apply what is being presented—since they will likely miss portions of the information.

I have a great regard for a person’s time. It is one of the most valuable gifts you can give to another person. When individuals choose to attend one of my presentations, I want to make the best use of their time. Therefore I typically use a white background, although I may use a small colored symbol or clip art to illustrate the information.