Educational leaders have their share of meetings with support staff, teachers, and peer leaders. Where these meetings occur can set the tone for the discussion. Failures and successes when leading meetings have led me to realize the following:
1. Post observation conferences are best facilitated in a teacher's classroom. It's helpful to have a discussion about feedback in a "safe" environment. Student chairs, desks, and the teacher's classroom comforts foster a comfortable setting for what can sometimes be a challenging conversation.
2. Art and music rooms can promote open and engaging discussion. Pictures of artists and musicians on the walls, instruments laying on the floor, and large drawing benches for students can compel meeting participants to feel freer and more creative when brainstorming solutions to tough problems.
3. Where you sit matters. People performing at high developmental levels benefit from collaboration. Sitting side by side when providing evaluation feedback or sharing in the decision making process sends a visual message that you and the individual are professional partners. I am very careful not sit at the head of a conference table when managing meetings. I want participants to recognize me as one of the collaborators helping make the decisions.