Everyone can learn to listen better though some are already better than others naturally. The trick to help you focus is to be listening for meaning. Hearing the words, even repeating the words is no guarantee that you understood what was said. Listen and clarify for meaning not the words.
Some tips to improve your listening for meaning:
1. Paraphrase what was said. Then ask did you get it right. Paraphrasing is not repeating the words, instead it is restating in your own words an shorter, simpler, more straightforward if necessary. Consider a situation in which someone said something short in a language you don’t understand. you can repeat the words but still have no idea what they meant. They will even say you got it right if you ask them.
2. Ask for a diagram. Draw a quick picture, stick figures and arrows can be very effective. Or use mind mapping or a flow diagram. Don’t worry about getting the diagram perfect. The purpose is improving communication and understanding, that’s all.
3. Ask for an example.
4. End with, “Did I get that right or what did I get wrong?”