It is difficult to define listening, but generally it can be defined as " a receiver orientation to the communication process; since communication involves both a source and a receiver, listening consist of the roles receivers play in the communication process". Listening is a process that includes hearing, attending to, understanding, evaluating and responding to spoken messages.
Our own listening habits have been developed since we were born. Such habits are so well established that we perform them without thinking. But unfortunately, such habits are usually undesirable and lead to poor listening.
There are numbers of reasons for ineffective listening. These do not apply equally to all listeners and the degree to which they do apply will vary from different situation, speaker, topic and so forth, They represent common and important reasons for ineffective listening:
Your whole attention is designing and preparing "what to say next". You look interested, but your minds are miles away because you are thinking about the next comment.
Negatively labeling people can be extremely limiting. Everyone has biases, but it leads to ineffective listening. For example you hear a speaker discuss an idea that you don't like, you might stop paying attention to that speaker says, you might distort the message, and therefore failing to understand it because of prejudgment. As a result, your evaluation of the speaker and /or message could be unfair or in. So, a basic rule of effective listening is to that judgments should only be made after you have heard and evaluated the content of the message.
You take everything people tell you and refer it back to your own experience. They may want to tell you about a car's braking system, but that reminds you of your car accident. You launch into your story...