In Memoriam: Master Trainer Bob Pike

Known as the “trainer’s trainer,” Bob Pike embodied his mantra to “Add value and make a difference.”

Training legend Bob Pike presented at every Training Conference & Expo, going all the way back to 1977. Through the years, attendees consistently used a single word to describe this “must-see speaker”: amazing.

“Take the attention-grabbing skills of a natural orator, the inspirational power of a preacher, the persuasiveness of a master salesman, and the practical expertise of a seasoned trainer, and you arrive at some approximation of Bob Pike,” wrote George Dixon in his profile of Bob in “What Works at Work: Lessons from the Masters.”

Bob will be sorely missed at the Training 2024 Conference & Expo following his passing in October, but his lessons, techniques, and wisdom will live on.

Following stints as a sales executive at Master Education Industries and Personal Dynamics, Bob got involved in the training industry in 1969 and quickly earned a reputation as the “trainer’s trainer.” He started writing his Creative Training Techniques newsletter in 1987, offering tips to make training sessions more engaging, memorable, and effective by actively involving participants in the learning process. It was published by Lakewood publications, publisher of Training magazine, as was his “Creative Training Techniques Handbook” in 1989.

A member of the Speaker Hall of Fame, Bob originated the crucial concept of participant-centered training, where instructors facilitate learning using hands-on, interactive lessons. Over a 35-year period, he built The Bob Pike Group into a large training and performance consulting company, delivering training to 150,000-plus trainers in 25 countries on five continents and authoring 35-plus books.

“Because my first exposure to the field of talent development was the interactive and participant-centered workshops my dad led, I assumed all training and education was like that. It was eye-opening to attend other seminars and realize that wasn’t so,” notes his daughter, Becky Pluth. “I assumed the reins of The Bob Pike Group in 2013 with enthusiasm as I really believe the Creative Training Techniques he formulated make the training room a better place. I and thousands of other trainers (and learners!) appreciate that Bob Pike pioneered this concept, giving us a foundation from which to continue building and delivering engaging, effective, memorable instruction in less time.”

Bob’s learner-centric approach resonated with Training Conference & Expo attendees, who learned valuable lessons from his sessions and certificate programs such as “7 Mistakes Trainers Make” and “11 Ways to Create a Motivational Learning Environment for Every Learner”:

  • “Bob Pike was a must-see for his experience and knowledge, as well as helpful tips on training.”
  • “Bob taught his points by having his audience do them, then reflect on what just happened.”
  • “Bob Pike: great presenter, real-world scenarios, legendary in the L&D field.”

In his final podcast, Bob reflected on the potential for personal growth and transformation at any stage in life. And as he did in every “Trainer Talk” column he wrote for Training, he ended with: “Add value and make a difference.”

He certainly did! Let’s continue his work together.

Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.