Table of Contents
- 10 Best Leadership Emails and Speeches by Leaders
Have you ever felt greatly moved and inspired after listening to a speech by your role model? Or read an email by your CEO that made your day? Nothing can compare to the power of the right words at the right time, especially when they come from someone we respect and appreciate.
If you’re here, you’re probably looking for some motivation or preparing to inspire your team on a big day. In any case, we have got you covered with examples of the best leadership speech examples (and some leadership email examples too!)
10 Best Leadership Emails and Speeches
Here is a curated list of some of the most inspiring speeches and emails from leaders across the world in different industries.
1. Email by Starbucks’ ex-CEO Howard Schultz, August 2015
Whether you like him or not, you have to admit that Schultz knows how to make a difference. In August 2015, signals of a Chinese economic slowdown sparked panic, causing more than $1 trillion worth of losses in the Asian markets. This brought the Dow down by 588 points and gave birth to the popular hashtag #GreatFallOfChina.
Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ CEO at the time, wanted to make sure that all 190,000 of the company’s employees were aware of the issue. As a result, he sent a persuasive message, asking them to pay special attention to customers.
“Our customers are likely to experience an increased level of anxiety and concern. Please recognize this and—as you always have—remember that our success is not an entitlement, but something we need to earn, every day. Let’s be very sensitive to the pressures our customers may be feeling, and do everything we can to individually and collectively exceed their expectations.
…The experience we deliver in our stores, the strength and equity of our brand, and the primary reason for our current and future success is because of all of YOU. I believe in you and have never been prouder to be your partner.”
It’s not only about using inspirational words. It’s not just reassuring employees that Starbucks, as a publicly-traded company, will continue to do well despite market volatility.
It’s not even about Schultz’s admiration for his partners alone. It isn’t just one of them; it is all of them.
2. “A Tryst With Destiny” by Jawaharlal Nehru, August 1947
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is one leader whose words and actions touched the populace. Nehru gave the “Tryst with Destiny” address on the eve of Independence Day. It shed light on India’s century-long fight against the British Empire.
It addressed issues that go beyond India’s history. It is regarded as one of the finest leadership speech examples of the 20th century. This pivotal address captures the triumphant finale of India’s largely nonviolent freedom movement against the British empire.
“Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance….”
Tryst with Destiny is definitely one of the orations that not just Indians, but people across the world, will keep going back to.
3. “Learning From the West” by Narayana Murthy, 2001
One of Narayana Murthy’s most compelling speeches was given at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management. It focused on certain Western values that all Indians should imbibe, such as intellectual independence, professionalism, and accountability, among others.
“As it is said in the Vedas: Man can live individually, but can survive only collectively. Hence, the challenge is to form a progressive community by balancing the interests of the individual and that of the society. To meet this, we need to develop a value system where people accept modest sacrifices for the common good.”
4. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s email to employees, 2017
In 2016, Microsoft launched a Twitter bot called “Tay” to enhance artificial intelligence communication between humans. However, things went horribly wrong when hackers and others forced Tay to start making racist and vulgar comments, causing Microsoft to shut down Tay and apologize just a few hours later.
Without a doubt, the “Tay crew” was devastated by this failure. You may imagine their surprise when they received the following statements in an email from their CEO.
“Keep pushing, and know that I am with you … (The) key is to keep learning and improving.”
This is one of the top leadership email examples. Your team needs to know you’re looking out for them. We all make errors. The point is, how can you assist your employees in recovering from their mistakes?
5. Stanford commencement address by Steve Jobs, June 2005
Steve Jobs delivered a commencement address at Stanford University in 2005, and it will give you goosebumps. It’s an awe-inspiring speech, as well as a wonderful lesson in determination from one of history’s most prominent speakers.
“You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever,” he said. “This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
You must watch the full speech. It will leave you inspired and motivate you to do better.
6. “Go Kiss the World” by Subroto Bagchi at IIM Bangalore, 2006
Bagchi, the co-founder of Mindtree, spoke to the Class of 2006 at IIM Bangalore about how to define success. His blind mother’s final words to him were, “Go kiss the world.
This speech is an inspiration to India’s youth, encouraging them to recognize and develop their inner qualities, allowing them to fulfill their truest potential.
“… success is your ability to rise above your discomfort, whatever may be your current state. You can, if you want, raise your consciousness above your immediate surroundings. Success is not about building material comforts – the transistor that he never could buy or the house that he never owned.”
7. V.K. Krishna Menon’s speech at the United Nations, January 1957
V.K. Krishna Menon defended India’s position on Kashmir in a remarkable eight-hour address. The speech given on January 23, 1957, is still the longest-ever given at the United Nations Security Council.
“Why is it that we have never heard voices in connection with the freedom of people under the suppression and tyranny of Pakistani authorities on the other side of the cease-fire line? Why is it that we have not heard here that in ten years these people have not seen a ballot paper? With what voice can either the Security Council or anyone coming before it demand a plebiscite for the people on our side who exercise franchise, who have freedom of speech, who function under a hundred local bodies?”
8. Email by Jeff Bezos after Times criticism
The New York Times published a critical article in the summer of 2015, positioning Amazon as a cruel employer, that prioritizes company performance over employee well-being.
Amazon’s CEO, in an internal memo, asked his employees to read the Times article and to “escalate to HR” any incidents similar to those reported, even urging them to email him directly.
“I strongly believe that anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay. I know I would leave such a company.
But hopefully, you don’t recognize the company described. Hopefully, you’re having fun working with a bunch of brilliant teammates, helping invent the future, and laughing along the way.”
Criticism is never pleasant, but it sure helps us identify blind spots and opportunities for progress.
9. Kiran Bedi’s speech on visionary leadership, 2010
The talk by India’s first female IPS officer at TEDWomen on innovative leadership was truly amazing and inspiring. In her speech, Kiran Bedi shares her journey to become who she is and what visionary leadership entails.
“I joined the Indian Police Service as a tough woman, a woman with indefatigable stamina because I used to run for my tennis titles, etc. But I joined the Indian Police Service, and then it was a new pattern of policing. For me, policing stood for power to correct, power to prevent, and power to detect. This is something like a new definition ever given in policing in India—the power to prevent.”
10. Email by PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi after Donald Trump’s presidential victory
Last but not least is an email from Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo. She wrote to non-American citizens to cast aside their fear of joblessness after Donald Trump’s victory in the election for the 45th President of the US.
She knew that an America under Donald Trump could cause a slew of issues for her minority-race staff. She wrote to her employees an email, an excerpt of which is mentioned below.
“We serve more countries and territories than the United Nations, and our associates encompass virtually all of the world’s nationalities, cultures, faith and traditions. That diversity is a source of strength, an engine of creativity, dynamism, and prosperity. And it reflects the simple recognition that no matter what our differences, each of us is committed to doing our part for one another and this company that fills us with pride.”
An unforgettable leadership email example, this well-written piece of communication went a long way in reassuring the employees at PepsiCo.
As humans, we need to inspire and be inspired from time to time. We hope this list of the best leadership speech examples, as well as emails, will help you get inspired. If you have come across any interesting leadership speech ideas, do let us know!
Here are some examples of excellent speeches that inspire.
– “Tryst with Destiny” by Jawaharlal Nehru
– Narayan Murthy’s speech on the role of Western values in Indian society
– The Stanford commencement address by Steve Jobs
– “Go kiss the world” by Subroto Bagchi
– Kiran Bedi’s speech on visionary leadership
There are many ways to start a speech. You can begin with a quote, personal anecdote, powerful statement/phrase, an interesting statistic, a “what if” scenario, and so on.
You can greet the audience with phrases, such as the following.
“Hello, ladies and gentlemen.”
“Good morning/good afternoon/good evening.”
“Welcome, fellow colleagues.”
“It is my pleasure to have you all here.”
“Thank you for joining me today.”
Speeches hold the power to motivate us, especially when they come from someone we respect and appreciate.