Small Talk and Separate Caucuses : Settle It Now Negotiation Blog: "Small Talk and Separate Caucuses
Most attorneys do not like to begin their mediated negotiations with a joint session and neither do many mediators. The reason most often given is everyone's desire to avoid a polarizing set of zealously adversarial presentations.
Work done by our neighborhood neuroscientists, however, suggests that avoiding joint sessions may deprive us of the 'small talk' necessary to put the parties into a collaborative, even generous mood." [More]