My husband and I attended our first IEP meeting for our son who will be starting Kindergarten in the fall. It is always a weird sensation to be on the receiving end of services that I am used to being one of the providers of. It gives a whole different perspective, and likely will help me to be a better service provider.
Having been to many team meetings, I realize the importance of working as a cohesive team, and avoiding any adversarial relationships. People are so much more likely to want to help you if they perceive you as being on their side. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar! "Sides" really should not be an issue, but can sometimes occur simply because people are coming from different perspectives, and sometimes have different priorities, or do not always communicate their reasoning well enough.
As an OT, I have, on occasion, stopped off to pick up donut holes for team meetings that I thought might become adversarial. They were always well-received.
Anxious to keep things friendly (and therefore encourage us all to work cohesively), I brought cookies to the meeting. Cookies (or any other small yummy finger food) are such an easy way to demonstrate good will. To my surprise, there were already goodies that the school staff had provided. With all that good will going around, we had a very productive and positive meeting.
I think it goes back to something very primal - the proverbial "breaking bread together". When you share food, you connect with others. I really believe this helps make people more motivated to listen and to respond to the needs of others.
I think that after this experience, I will consider bringing cookies to every meeting, whether I am the service provider or the client.