Speakers/Panelists and Alumni Engagement

Speakers, Panelists and Alumni Engagement

Speaker events require additional layers of logistical planning. We strongly encourage you to follow these best practices for speaker management as well as alumni engagement in order to ensure that our visitors have a positive experience and that we represent MIT Sloan as effectively as possible:


Managing Speakers

  • Designate at least one host or greeter to welcome your speaker graciously and enthusiastically and to escort them to the classroom if needed.
  • Ask for a bio so you can introduce the speaker appropriately.
  • Make sure you have your speaker's cell phone number (and that he/she has yours) to contact in case of unforeseen problems
  • Ensure that all speakers know to keep personal property in their possession at all times (wallets, cell phones, tablets, phones, credit cards).
  • Make sure your speaker knows our timing protocols: start at 5 minutes past the posted time and end promptly at 5 minutes before the posted time and end promptly at 5 minutes before the posted time. Let them know how you will help them manage their time.
  • Make sure your speaker knows who will be in the audience; be prepared to offer information about all MIT Sloan programs.
  • Inquire about room and technical needs well ahead of time (microphone, laptop, thumb drive, chalkboard/whiteboard).
  • Coordinate parking and/or catering as needed.
  • Share MIT discount codes for local hotels as needed.
  • Make sure there is a bottle of water available for the speaker.
  • When the presentation is over, thank the speaker for his/her time and give them a Sloan gift.
  • Make sure you send a thank you note after the event.

Managing Your Audience

  • Be clear about whether latecomers or early departures will be allowed (norm is no).
  • Ensure that audience members come prepared with information about the visitor and prepared to ask appropriate questions.
  • Remind them that their behavior reflects not only on them personally but also on their program and on all of Sloan. Their behavior can also affect others' ability to compete successfully in the marketplace.
  • Remind the audience members that cellphones, laptops, and tablets are to be silenced and put away.
  • Ask the audience members to put up their name cards, so the speaker can refer to them by name.
  • Ask people to refrain from sidebar conversations.

Inviting Alumni Speakers

  • Make sure your planning timeline is sensitive to alumni schedules. For example, with conferences, aim to begin your search six to eight months before the event.
  • Compile a list of potential alumni speakers. You can do this by using the MIT Alumni Association Online Alumni Directory (the Infinite Connection), as well as the MIT and MIT Sloan Alumni LinkedIn Groups. These will help you identify alumni who may be of interest to you.
  • Refer to the MIT Campus Visitor Guidelines. This site, jointly sponsored by the Provost, the Chancellor, and the Executive Vice President and Treasurer, provides a series of guidelines and resources to assist those who invite visitors to campus.
  • Reach out to the Office of External Relations (OER) at mitsloanalumnirelations@mit.edu to discuss your outreach strategy. They may be able to facilitate connections with alumni who are already engaged with MIT Sloan. Some alumni may prefer to connect through their current MIT Sloan staff contact. If OER will be extending an ask on your behalf, please provide an invitation letter with key details: date, time, location, and reason for request.
  • After checking with OER, send invitations. Note, when inviting VIPs (i.e., senior executives of organizations as well as government officials/heads of state), send a written invitation that identifies you as a member of your student group at MIT Sloan. Unless OER suggests otherwise, you may invite other alumni by either phone or email.
  • Confirm alumni involvement. Once an alum or other VIP has confirmed his/her participation in your event, please email the Student Life Office and mitsloanalumnirelations@mit.edu so that they are aware of the visit and can both ensure the event is staffed appropriately and plan any complementary programming.
  • Send your list of identified alumni registrants to mitsloanalumnirelations@mit.edu (one week before event): OER may want to reach out to specific attendees in advance. OER staff might follow up with you a couple of days before the event for a more accurate report.
  • Send thank you letters to speakers (48-72 hours after event): Be sure to immediately send a thank you note to your speaker(s) to thank them for their time and knowledge. Even if you have given them one along with a gift during your event, it can't hurt to send another note (either in writing or via email) that provides additional context and information that was relevant to the speaker(s) remarks. If the speaker is an alum of MIT or MIT Sloan, the Office of External Relations may also send a follow up note to thank them for their engagement with the school.
  • Send a final list of alumni attendees to mitsloanalumnirelations@mit.edu (one week after event): Within one week of your event, send a list of alumni attendees to the Office of External Relations so the OER can keep track of alumni and VIPs who have attended your event. This is helpful to future event planners and can prove to be a vital resource for the continuing engagement of certain alumni.

Inviting Alumni Attendees

To invite alumni to attend your event, consider the following options. Please email mitsloanalumnirelations@mit.edu (OER) for details.

  • Inclusion in the MIT Sloan Alumni Events Page listings
  • Promotion via the MIT Sloan Alumni Twitter account, Facebook page, Instagram account, or LinkedIn group
  • Inclusion in semimonthly alumni newsletters (please send newsletter inclusion requests a month ahead of time)
  • All registration sites should include an "Alumni" option, either as a separate category or as a part of the registration page. Alumni should also be asked to designate their Program and Class Year, if the system allows for it.