"However, plenary sessions have largely changed. It is now widely recognized that allowing counsel and parties to make opening statements only inflames the situation.
... a plenary session should, in my view, consist of the following:
>A brief discussion by the mediator of his/her role as well as the ground rules for the day;
>An emphasis on why it is in the parties' interest to resolve the dispute at the mediation rather than later on within the court process;
>An overview presented by the mediator of the outstanding issues and disputed facts; and
>Constrained input from the parties..."
Then do yourself a favour and read In Praise of Joint Sessions