Your publications put your reputation at risk
Clients’ views on your team or firm are partly influenced by how sharp your updates are. More

Text tables: summarise complexity quickly
Clients value them, but you find them fiddly. Tame the Word-table beast


Show clients that you do ‘do’ data. Use charts in your updates – show clients that you speak their language. More

Home page and blog
Make it clear quickly: help
clients get your message
What clients want
Less news, more business
impacts. Fewer words.
Formats and tools
Get more out of Word,
blogs, emails, and PDFs.
Writing training
Make it clear quickly in
publications and pitches.
About us
Who we are, and
how to reach us.

Make it clear quickly

Get your message through to busy clients. Clearly, quickly, efficiently.


Improve your client updates and pitch documents

This website is the home of One Three Four. It’s full of ideas that will help you improve your pitch documents and know-how updates (client briefings, newsletters, research reports, e-bulletins, web pages, seminars).

Produce content and documents that clients read and remember

Professional services firms, law firms, and investment banks deluge clients with pitch documents and know-how updates that fail to focus on what clients want. We make simple changes that make a difference to clients. (Find out who our clients are)

We can help you improve content, process, and format

  • Content: effective-writing training. Our writing training helps lawyers, research analysts, and business-development people.
  • Process: practical tools. We create clever Word templates that make it easier to produce sharp updates and pitches. We can help with templates for websites and emails too.
  • Format: make your updates stand out. We add features that make documents easier to read and more memorable. We believe that formats should use the law of shiny things.

Recent blog posts

16 October 2009
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Non-text explanations – text boxes, text tables, and flowcharts – help lawyers to summarise complexity, and draw readers in. I gave a talk on this topic at the Plain Language Association International (PLAIN) conference in Sydney. My presentation covers six examples, and a better way to do the slides-and-handout thing. More
12 April 2009
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Bob Quick's top secret briefing was over-exposed, and poorly formatted. We've put together a before-and-after version of the briefing document as helpful guidance for anyone who has to get the facts across quickly to time-pressed readers (like prime ministers, clients, and prospects). More
6 March 2009
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We thought it'd be interesting to compare Mr Obama's use of the tricolon with Mr Brown's. We know it's not fair – one's a world-renowned orator, the other's not – but it offers some useful lessons. For business writers, and maybe for political leaders too. More
16 February 2009
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Tag-clouds give website users an easy way to find content on particular topics – users don't need to know in advance which section of the website that content has been tucked away in. But website-designers don't like them because they rain on the information-architecture parade. More
14 February 2009
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The law of shiny things works like this: magpies can’t tell the difference between a diamond ring and a bit of Kit Kat wrapper. And humans aren’t that different. A new delivery format or an extra bells-and-whistles feature will attract client attention – even if it’s not a step-change improvement. (Penicillin was a step-change improvement, [...] More
14 February 2009
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Improving updates, briefings, and newsletters isn't hard, but it does take focus. We'd like to share our pet mnemonic with you – Running Animals Beat Crawlers. Hopefully it'll help with that focus thing. More
8 February 2009
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Know-how updates need product features, but they're often weak or missing. We've created a parable on the value of product feature (based on the Golf and the Allegro). More
8 February 2009
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Lawyers who use numbers and data will stand out from the crowd There’s a myth that lawyers don’t ‘do’ numbers. Believers say it’s because lawyers live in a world of words where numbers don’t get a look-in. We’re less convinced – 0ur view is that business is pretty numbers-focused, and lawyers are part of business. [...] More
8 February 2009
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Text tables show your readers that you’re trying to help. Text tables give you a flexible way to sum up complexity. They’re a really helpful feature in any update, bulletin, article, newsletter, or seminar handout. Or pitch. Or pretty much any document that you can think of. Clients value them as they summarise, and allow [...] More
6 February 2009
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There's just no way to soften the blow – it may be worse if your clients do read your updates than if they don't. Few law-firms think about updates in terms of the risk that they pose to the firm's reputation – and revenue. But it's time to think again. More