PACT:  Acronym Description

The Listener Preference Acronym PACT outlines the four types of listening preferences presented.  The four preferences have been labeled people-, content-, action-, and time-oriented listening.  Here is a brief overview of each preference that you should share with the test takers after they have completed the instrument and filled out the LPP grid:

People-Oriented.  Listeners demonstrate people-oriented preferences when they:  show care and concern for others’ feelings, identify the emotional states of others, internalize/adopt emotional states of others, or try to find areas of common interest.

Action-Oriented.  Listeners demonstrate action-oriented preferences when they:  jump ahead and finish thoughts of speakers, get frustrated by unorganized speakers, focus on inconsistencies and errors in messages, or show impatience when speakers ramble.

Content-Oriented.  Listeners demonstrate content-oriented preferences when they:  test or evaluate facts and evidence, welcome complex and challenging information, listen to facts before forming judgments and opinion, or favor listening to technical information.

Time-Oriented.  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.

The Listener Preference Profile is a way for you to learn more about your own preferences as well as the preferences of others.  After you have completed the instrument, we will provide a description of each preference and an example from our own experiences. The examples are not intended to represent the only characteristics a particular listener style might represent.  They are designed to get you thinking about how preference traits might be expressed in actual situations. After the example, pros and cons for each characteristics are described to provide a balanced perspective for each preference type.


Most of us don’t think about changing the way that we listen, yet listening would be more efficient and enjoyable if we did. All listeners can benefit from using the LPP.  One difficulty that listeners have is getting in the habit of listening in only one way in every listening situation.

Sales representatives, for example, often get so wrapped up in their pitch, that they jump ahead and finish the thoughts of their potential customers.  By identifying their listening inclinations in certain settings, sales representatives can begin to make conscious decisions concerning whether or not to let a habitual preference dictate their actual listening behavior.

Executives, on the other hand, find it difficult, if not impossible to switch listening channels.  Because certain types of listening behaviors are reinforced for at least 8 hours at work, when they arrive home, executives often forget what channel they are on.  Instead of turning off their content-oriented listening behaviors and using a more people-oriented one, many executives continue evaluating and criticizing what their spouses, children, and friends have to say.  It may only be when listeners are reminded to switch channels that they remember that they are treating the people they love as if they were employees.