Tip 1: Meetings
I find that it is often helpful to set the scene in mediation by bringing together the participants over breakfast: this gives an opportunity for people to mingle informally and for me to say some words about what we are here to do and how. It allows people to meet counterparts and opposite numbers; to see who is present and to commit to joint problem-solving.
Sometimes, I invite the principals – or the lawyers – to stay behind for a private chat afterwards. All sorts of interesting (and helpful) possibilities can arise.