Q. I’ve attended several of your seminars and notice you use only white backgrounds for overhead transparencies or PowerPoint® slides. You do know that color technology exists?

A. Years ago a brain researcher told me that when colored backgrounds (transparencies or PowerPoint®) are used (unless they are pictures 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 illustration. Whether this occurs at a conscious or subconscious level, their brains will be distracted. 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 white backgrounds for transparencies and PowerPoint® slides to avoid color distraction
  • Avoid wearing fragrances that might be distracting to kinesthetics
  • Dress in dark monochromatic colors to avoid visual distraction
  • Negotiate the best sound possible for the PA system to avoid distractions for the auditories