"Avoid eduspeak and stay out of that ivory tower" is just one reminder that you need to keep in mind while you prepare and conduct the conference. We want the parents to be our partner; we don't want to alienate them by speaking down to them.
While these tips don't all relate to parent-teacher conferences, they are pertinent to creating a positive working relationship with parents. If you know that you have a difficult parent coming in for a conference, using this advice to prepare can help defuse a difficult situation.
Preparation is the key to success. Especially when you know the parents will be difficult, you need to plan ahead to help diffuse the situation. I like the idea of looking for areas in which you can agree. Change the tone of the conversation to make it more positive. It will be hard for the parents to be angry if you are agreeing with them.
More and more schools are moving to student-led conferences. If that's true for you or you want to lead the charge, this resource provides you with a great explanation, lots of tips for success and some additional resources to help your student-led conferences be more successful.
Be prepared for a conference and ongoing communication with parents who are angry with you and your policies by paying attention to the tips in this resource. There is a lot of great advice from just letting the parents vent to how to describe issues in a non-judgmental way.
The folks at the Harvard Family Research Project provide a number of tips for you for before, during, and after the conference. It's a great reminder that preparation is key to a successful conference while follow-up is essential to cultivating a positive parent-teacher relationship.
This is a nice, concise guide to parent conferences that includes a rationale for creating a positive experience and strategies for a successful meeting. It also describes the main reasons and components of the conference, so it's a great resource for new teachers.