Almost every presentation I do has at least some people who are participating remotely. Recently one of the Polycom Experience Center Managers asked me why I always chose the same, specific seat for a meeting. I told her it's my "power spot" and then I explained why I sit where I do--and it's not at the head of the table.
Previously, I would always sit at or near the traditional head of the table-the end furthest the screen on the right side. The problem was, at the head of the table, the VIP (customer, partner, or whomever actually was the VIP in the meeting) either needed to look at me, or look at the screens. They couldn't do both simultaneously. Plus, if they were looking at the screen (like when I'm conducting a demo, I couldn't read the VIP's facial expressions. The added effect was that I couldn't be seen as well on the far end because I was at the back of the room. (A problem solved by EagleEye Director, but that's another story).
Also, when I get up and draw on the whiteboard, it's now behind me. I still keep eye contact. It's easier to be seen and have others see what I'm doing (because they're basically looking in the same place as when I'm seated). I've found it just adds to smoother discussions.
Looking for best practices for designing conference rooms? See the Integrator's Reference Manual for the Polycom RealPresence® Group Series, pp 252-260 for ideas.
What do you find? Do you have a preferred place to sit in a conference room? Let us know where you like to sit in a meeting room... and why!