Parent conferences can be difficult, anxiety-ridden, and/or overwhelming. The lesson I learned that made my time at parent conferences greatly enjoyable was that when parents come to meet with you, the best way to get through to them to help set goals for the remainder of the year is to assure them that you KNOW their kid.
Prior to conferences I came up with an advanced vocabulary word that described each student-- no two were alike. I then shared this word with the student and parent(s) during the conference. Some were gentle corrections and others strong encouragements. At each conference the parents would smile or laugh along in agreement as I explained the character quality I saw to the student.
Following this, the student was assigned to go home and find an equally eloquent word they WANTED to define their character as a student. We then posted that word under their picture on our character traits word wall as both a source of accountability for the students seeking to become "demonstrative," "audacious," "ardent," etc. and as a source for describing characters in books.