Listening Style: People-Oriented, Content-Oriented, Action-Oriented, and Time-Oriented Listening

Listening Style or PACT Listening: People-oriented listeners, content-oriented listening, action-oriented listening, and time-oriented listening. Four types of Listeners.

The Listener Preference Acronym PACT represents the four types of listening preferences presented. The four types of listening style are People-oriented listeners, content-oriented listening, action-oriented listening, and time-oriented listening.

Four types of Listening Style:

  1. People-oriented listeners
  2. Action-oriented listeners
  3. Content-Oriented Listeners
  4. Time-Oriented Listeners
  1. People-oriented listeners

Listeners demonstrate people-oriented preferences when they show care and concern for others’ feelings, emotional and try to find areas of common interest. Listeners are very Sensitive to others. They try to find areas of interest between themselves and the speaker—telling a personal story to calm down members who may be upset and angry. These kinds of listeners may also become distracted by others’ problems. They may engage in too many side conversations during meetings.

For example, an audience is crying for listening to the pathetic history of Mother Teresa.

Strategies for Communicating with People-Oriented Listeners: Use emotional examples and appeals, Use “we” rather than “I” in conversations.

2. Action-oriented listeners:

Listeners demonstrate action-oriented preferences when they jump ahead to get the point quickly. They give clear feedback concerning expectations. They also encourage others to be organized and concise. Less likely to pay attention to the relational communication dimension of a message

Strategies for Communicating with Action-Oriented Listeners: Keep main points to three or fewer, Speak at a rapid but controlled rate.

3. Content-Oriented Listeners:

Listeners demonstrate content-oriented preferences when they test or evaluate facts and evidence. They pay more attention to technical information rather than general information. Content-Oriented Listeners enjoy receiving complex or challenging information. They are very careful to evaluate information before forming an opinion about the information by asking questions.

For example, an audience just raises his hand and asks the speaker that may we have an example regarding this issue.

Strategies for Communicating with content-oriented Listeners: Use two-side arguments when possible.

4. Time-Oriented Listeners:  

Listeners demonstrate time-oriented preferences when they let others know how much time they have to listen or tell others how long they have to meet.

For Example: Manage and save time, Set time guidelines for meetings and conversations, Discourage wordy speakers, Give cues to others when time is being wasted.

Strategies for Communicating with Time-Oriented Listeners:  Ask how much time the person has to listen

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Types of Listening: Discriminative, Comprehensive, Empathic, Analytical, & Appreciative Listening

Types of Listening: Discriminative Listening, Comprehensive Listening, Empathic Listening, Analytical Listening, Appreciative Listening.

The Essence of LISTENING
  • Listening involves hearing and interpreting.
  • The active process of listening: Listening is the ability to receive, select, interpret, understand, evaluate, respect, and appropriately respond to the meaning of another person’s spoken and nonverbal messages.
  • We spend an enormous amount of time listening (40 – 70%), speaking (20 – 35%), reading (10 – 20%), writing (5 – 15%).

Types of Listening 

Here are five types of listening

  1.  Discriminative Listening (Differentiate Sounds)
  2. Comprehensive Listening (Understanding the Meaning of message)
  3. Empathic Listening (understanding the feeling and emotions of the speaker)
  4. Analytical Listening  (Evaluate the meaning of message based on evidence)
  5. Appreciative Listening  (Seeking certain information)
1. Discriminative Listening

Discriminative listening is fundamental listening. It means the interpretation of sounds rather than the meaning of words and ideas. This listening style involves hearing only the sound rather than listening to the meaning of the message. It is the most important basic type of listening, where different sounds of words are recognized without understanding the meaning.

For Example, The sound may anger, happiness, or other forms, People start to learn this listening form the womb of mothers.

2. Comprehensive Listening

Comprehensive Listening is the understanding of the meaning of the message, and little more of seeking the meaning of the message. After all, It is the initial process of the meaning of the messages, thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Audiences use knowledge and vocabulary to understand the speaker.

For example, what brand name comes to your mind when talking about soft drinks? Most of them answer Coca Cola or Pepsi. Based on cognitive skill.

Discriminative Listening versus Comprehensive Listening
Discriminative Listening Comprehensive Listening
Firstly, this listening refers to translating sounds into words and sentences. Making meaning out of words and sentences rather than translating only.
Additionally, It is all about assuming meaning from the tone and body language. Using knowledge and vocabulary to understand the speaker
Finally, It is a process of hearing but not really listening In contrast, listening rather than just hearing
3. Empathic Listening

Empathic listening is understood as the feeling and emotions of the speaker sometimes the listener can actually feel what the speaker is feeling. Therefore, this listening needs good close attention, discriminative listening, comprehensive listening, and deep connection with the emotion of the speakers.

For example, the Audience is thinking about the same things that the speaker thinking.

4. Analytical Listening

Analytical Listening means focusing on evaluating and forming the appropriate meaning of the message based on evidence. So, It is related to critical thinking and analysis. However, It helps to evaluate if speakers are right or wrong, logical, or illogical. Analytical listeners understand why they accept or reject another member’s ideas and suggestions.

For example, Speakers are showing a statistical report to persuade audiences, although audiences argue with others for better understanding.

5. Appreciative Listening

Appreciative listening is the type of listening behavior where the listener seeks certain information which they will appreciate and meet his or her needs and goals.

For example, Listening favorite song, poetry, and seeking the stirring words of the speech.

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How to Analyze the Paralinguistic & Non-Verbal Features Found in a Video.

How to Analyze the Paralinguistic and Non-Verbal Features Found in a Video. Para-linguistic and Non-Verbal Features: What Else Are We Communicating? Paralinguistics mean nonverbal aspects that is spoken communication without using words.

This is an assignment for the student of University Putra Malaysia under the CEL2102 Course. The instruction has been given outrightly.

Assignment Instruction:

This is a group project which requires students to analyze the para-linguistic and non-verbal features found in a video. At the end of the project, the group is required to present the findings in class.

Part 1 (Preparation)

1. Form a group of 4-5 members.

2. Select a talk/ presentation/ lecture/ speech/ interview in English and get approval from the instructor in Week 11.

3. The topic of the selected video has to be informative and educational. You can use videos or snippets from TED Talks, Toastmaster International or talk shows. Here are sample videos for your reference:




4. Each member selects one paralinguistic or non-verbal feature from the following list:

a) Stress patterns & Rhythm

b) Intonation

c) Hesitation

d) Pauses

e) Fillers

f) Eye Contact

g) Body Gestures

h) Posture

5. Each member then identifies three instances of the selected paralinguistic or non-verbal feature found in the video and analyze the intentions or purposes for every identified instance.

6. Complete the attached worksheet (UPM-CALC/SEM 1/2017-18/CEL2102/PROJECT3 – WORKSHEET).

7. Bring the completed worksheet and the selected talk/ presentation/ lecture/ speech/Interview with class in Week 13 for reflection and feedback.

8. Based on the reflection and feedback, amend the worksheet.

9. Submit the hard copy of the worksheet to the instructor in Week 13 before the presentation.

Note: Avoid stand up comedies, trailers, advertisements, and documentaries.

Part 2 (Presentation)

1. One of the group members provides an overview of the talk/ presentation/ lecture/ speech/ interview. The overview must be between 1-2 minutes.

2. Each group member then presents his/her analysis of the selected paralinguistic or non-verbal feature by playing the scene (the specific time frames/time references) from the talk/ presentation/ lecture/ speech/ interview that contains the selected feature.

3. Every member must speak for 2-3 minutes. The group must complete the task within 15–20 minutes.

Assessment Marks will be awarded individually based on task analysis, language, and fluency.

Based on this first YouTube video (, the student analyzed paralinguistic and non-verbal features.

Analyze the Paralinguistic and Non-Verbal Features Found in a Video


CEL 2102 Effective Listening and Speaking

Project 3: Paralinguistic Features: What Else Are We Communicating?


Group: 3

Name :

Name of the talk/ presentation/ lecture/ speech/ interview:

Your body language may shape who you are | Amy Cuddy

URL link:



Paralinguistic / Non-verbal Feature:  Stress
Time reference

(1 mark)

Description of Paralinguistic / Non-Verbal Feature

(2 marks)

Purpose / Intention

(2 marks)

00:55-00:58 The speaker stresses the word “He” in this sentence: “He does not think it is a good idea” The intention of the speaker in stressing the word “he” is to indicate that it is not someone else who thinks it is a bad idea, the emphasis is therefore on whom.

Student 1

Paralinguistic / Non-verbal Feature: Eye contact

(Eye contact is a form of nonverbal communication and is thought to have a large influence on social behavior).

Time reference

(1 mark)

Description of Scene

(2 marks)


(2 marks)

00:48-01:03 Sometimes we hold on to our like this, sometimes we spread out. (Laughter). I see you. Focusing

Speaker uses her eye contact to point out the person who responds to her words during speaking on stage.

02:58- 03:08  

Even more dramatic Alex Todorov at Princeton has shown us that judgment of political candidate’s faces in just one second 70 parents in US senate and gubernatorial race outcome and even lets going digital emoticons used well in online negotiations, can lead you to claim more value from the negotiation.


Prolonged eye contact: The speaker uses Prolonged eye contact that can make other people understand the conversation clearly. It also represents Signals Trust, Shows Interest and Empathy and Increases Self-Awareness.

So, powerful people tend to be not surprisingly more assertive and more confident more optimistic. They actually feel they are going to win the event at games of chance.


Shutting eyes:

When you keep eye contact with Open and Close your eyes.

You are doing to it indicates that you are focused and paying attention.


Student 2

 Paralinguistic / Non-verbal Feature: Body Gesture
Time reference

(1 mark)

Description of Scene

(2 marks)


(2 marks)

1:00 – 1:03  

The speaker uses her hands in outward manner while saying “significantly change”.


The speaker uses this gesture to further emphasize the message she is giving, which is “It could significantly change the way your life unfolds”.
2:00 – 2:02  

That Speaker brings her index fingers together while saying the word “communication”.


Speaker uses the gesture to show that communication is ‘two-ways’, implying it requires two people for communication to occur. “So we think about communication”.
2:04 – 2:07 The speaker points outwards while saying “So what does your body language…” and points to herself while saying “communicating to me?”


The speaker puts emphasis on which person she is referring to when she is speaking.


Student 3

Paralinguistic / Non-verbal Feature: Hesitation
Time reference

(1 mark)

Description of Scene

(2 marks)


(2 marks)

1:13 – 1:17  

The speaker used hesitation fillers of “like you know, umm, a errm” before explaining further on her examples.


The speaker actually got distracted in her speech when the crowd starts to laugh at the picture she displayed. So, the speaker hesitates for a moment to gather her thoughts because she may have forgotten her points possibly due to the unexpected crowd’s laugh and anxiety.
7:32 – 7:34 Speaker hesitation fillers of “errrm” on her sentence before giving out some examples. The speaker asked a question, answered the question and gave examples.



Speaker used hesitation fillers of “errrm” to give people enough time to comprehend what the speaker is trying to convey. She rephrased or defined her answer by coming up with examples to ease the understanding of her point.
10:06 – 10:08 The speaker used the hesitation fillers of “ummm” before stressing on her supporting point about ‘role changes can shape the mind’.



The speaker is using her hesitations to stress an important point. When the speaker used hesitation fillers of “ummm” after saying the body can shape the mind, it shows that she is going to share her second point. Thus, it improves the efficiency and clarity of the speech.


Student 4

Paralinguistic / Non-verbal Feature:  Stress Pattern and Rhythm


Time reference

(1 mark)

Description of Scene

(2 marks)


(2 marks)

0:30 – 0:33 The speaker was stressing on these highlighted words: “Right now, do a little audit of your body.”



The speaker was trying to give instructions to the audience to be aware of their body language at the moment by stressing the word ‘now’, ‘do’, ‘audit’ and ‘body’.


7:07 – 7:08  

Speaker was stressing on these highlighted words: “I really wanted to know.


Speaker was telling the audience what she wanted, therefore these words ‘really’, ‘wanted’ and ‘know’ were stressed.
18:19 – 18:22 The speaker was stressing on these highlighted words: “You have got to participate or else you are going to fail.”



The speaker was telling a story of her friend that was going to fail if she did not participate. Therefore, these words ‘got’, ‘participate’, ‘else’, ‘going’ and ‘fail’.

Student 5

Paralinguistic / Non-verbal Feature:   Intonation
Time reference

(1 mark)

Description of Scene

(2 marks)


(2 marks)

3:41 – 3:44 The speaker made a falling intonation at the end of the question, “What non-verbals am I talking about? This falling intonation at the end of the sentence is used for wh-questions.
6:09 – 6:13 Speaker made a rising intonation with the word “surprised” in this sentence: “One, you’re not going be surprised, it seems to be related to gender” The rising intonation at the word “surprised” is used to indicate the speaker’s sentence isn’t finished yet. The speaker then continued by saying that the result is related to gender.
11:26 – 11:28 The speaker did a falling-rising intonation with the word “gamble” in the sentence: “and then we give them an opportunity to gamble”.


And, the falling-rising intonation is used to make a question-like statement that shows that she’s asking for confirmation from the audience even though she has an idea that everyone understands the word “gamble”


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