All posts by Paul C. Brunson

About Paul C. Brunson
I'm a husband, father, mentor, and mentee. The host of a weekly syndicated TV show, founder of an award winning matchmaking agency, CEO & Co-Founder of a tech startup, and advisor to several companies. If you couldn't tell from all my jobs, I'm Jamaican. No really, I'm Jamaican :)

The Most Simple Body Language Rule That Will Change Your Life Forever

The Most Simple Body Language Rule That Will Change Your Life Forever

4 years ago, I read about a very simple body language rule in Janine Driver’s book You Say More Than You Think and immediately thought I had acquired a special super power. To test it, I jumped in my car and drove to the nearest supermarket. BOOM! I felt like I was the master of body language!! Everything she outlined I saw play out before my eyes. Little did I know, I had just developed a skill that I would go on to teach hundreds of clients, many of whom would later tell me the quick tip changed their lives.


The origin of the Belly Button Rule dates back to the 1930s and since then, numerous scientists and body language experts have honed the theory. Most notably, Dr. Albert Mehrabian, professor Emeritus of Psychology and UCLA has said “the belly button rule is the most important indicator of reading a person’s intention.”


Let me break down the rule plainly:

The belly button rule (also known as BBR) means the direction of our navel reflects our true interest.




So now that you know the definition, let me give you a quick test. Look at the photo below and;

  1. Identify the person who has the least interest in their conversation?
  2. Identify the most popular person?

Group of businesspeople communicating

The answers are at the bottom of the page.


Congratulations! You’re on your way to becoming a BBR master!! Now that you know what the rule means AND how to spot it, here’s how to apply your new skill in popular situations:


At Work/Meeting

Say you’re sitting at a conference table with a small group of co-workers. Once the meeting gets started, check out where their belly buttons face during most of the meeting. If you have that one co-worker who appears to be engaged in the meeting but has a navel pointed at the door, they’re most likely not interested in the conversation.


Another great use of BBR at work is to see at what point the people you’re meeting with shift the direction of their belly button. Let’s say at one point in the meeting you voice your opinion about a new sales goal and a person who had previously been focusing on you (with their navel) suddenly points their belly button in a different direction. This shift could indicate a hidden emotion, a difference in opinion or a lack of interest. All great clues to note and use to your advantage.


On a Date

You’re seated across from a man you’re meeting for coffee for the first time. He’s saying all the right things, looks like the perfect gentleman (you could definitely sop him up with a biscuit), and he even keeps good eye contact with you. However, during parts of the date, his navel shifts away from your direction. This is not cause for a red alert but it is very telling. It shows that he may be uncomfortable and want out of that particular topic of conversation. Of course, when you see a prolonged navel pointing away from you, it means your date has mentally checked out the conversation and wants to go.


Meeting a Group Socially

Knowing BBR is very powerful if you’re approaching a group or a couple already engaged in conversation. Let’s say you’re going to join the group of people talking in the photo above we used for the quiz. If you’re interested in identifying and talking with the most popular person in the group, by simply adding up who has the most navels pointed at her/him, you’ll have a good indication. Or, let’s say you’re running on CP time, you’ve arrived to the cocktail party late, and you want to quickly get in the mix (and not stand by yourself). Therefore, you’ll want to find the easiest person to chat up and that person is most likely going to be the person with their navel pointed away from the person they’re talking with – this person is looking for an out and you could be their rescue.


Lastly, remember that BBR is not simply about having more awareness. I want you to use it to also create more influence in the conversations you have. For example, BBR is a skill President Bill Clinton has down to a science and he uses it to create stronger connections. Check out any video of him engaging a crowd and you’ll see exactly what I mean. When he walks up to someone, he points his… (insert jokes here if you must) navel directly at the person he’s talking or shaking hands with. So simple yet so effective! When these same people are later surveyed or asked about President Clinton, they mostly state how they felt like he gave them his undivided attention and really connected with them. What Clinton did is something the most adept politicians and public figures learn and it’s something I encourage you to learn, as well. The next time you engage with someone (and this is especially true for my fellow introverts because we’re often thought to be aloof), make sure to keep your navel focused on the person at all times. They will feel your focus and better receive the message you’re attempting to communicate.


That’s it.


Get out there and get your BBR on!


Answers from Photo Quiz Above:

  1. Identify the person who has the least interest in their conversation? Not interested in his conversation is the gentleman in the brown jacket (second from the right). This is clear because his belly button is not only pointed away from the person he’s in conversation with, it’s also directed away from anyone in the group. His interest is to get away from the person he’s with as fast as possible.
  2. Identify the most popular person? The person with the most interest is the young lady in the white shirt on the left side talking with the two gentleman. This is clear because both men have pointed their navels towards her direction (opposed to at each other or away from their conversation).


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10 Most Outrageous Myths About Men We All Believe

Before clients of my agency begin the matchmaking phase, we first put them through several weeks of intensive coaching. Our focus during this pre-match time is to share effective dating strategies, review recent research, and most importantly, dispel myths! Over the years, I’ve heard just about everything, and I mean everythang! The following are the top 10 myths our female clients believed to be truths.


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10 Public Speaking Pro Tips I Learned Presenting to Everyone from Prisoners to CEOs

I’ve been speaking publicly since I was a little boy. You name it, I’ve done it. I’ve MC’d weddings, spoken at funerals, had paid speaking gigs before audiences of 10,000 executives, talked to crowds overseas with very low English comprehension, presented before a class of toddlers, held it down at a retirement home and I’ve even given a 3-hour presentation in front of prisoners.

In the last 5 years , I’ve started collecting audience feedback. One question I ask is whether or not the audience member would recommend a friend to hear me speak. With thousands of responses collected, I’m proud to say I’m at a 98% recommendation rate. I’m self-aware enough to know that while there are many areas in life I lack ability in, public speaking is not one of them.

However, I don’t believe I was born with a special gift to speak before crowds. This skill was developed by over 20-years of hard fought lessons. In order to prevent you from going through those same hurdles, I’ve outlined my top 10 list of effective public speaking tips. My hope is that these lessons help you down the road to ultimately become the best public speaker you can be.

Public Speaking


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9 Biggest Problems With Dating Today & How To Solve Them

I’ve been a professional matchmaker for six years and in just that time I’ve seen a significant shift in how people date around the world. In most countries, every category related to dating, from public opinion about it, to average length of time couples see each other, to satisfaction, have plummeted. We’re living in a time I label as “alarming” and fully expect if there is not an immediate shift in how we date, our communities will fall apart. After all, marriage is the cornerstone of society and dating is the cornerstone of marriage.  

Below, are the 9 biggest problems with dating today and my thoughts on how to solve them.


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8 Quick Ways To Detect A Non-Committal Man or Woman

When genuinely searching for a committed partner (leading to marriage), there is nothing worse than wasting your time with someone who is simply looking for quick sex, casual dating, or just a long-term hang out buddy. By my estimate, 80% or more of daters are not looking for anything serious and although I’m an advocate for “date practicing”, I’m not a proponent of giving your time or resources to a dead end partner.

If you find yourself debating whether the person you’re “dating” is non-committal, here are 8 quick ways to determine if he/she has long-term intentions:


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The 10 Books That Changed My Life

In a recent post I wrote about how I significantly reduced how much TV I consume and dramatically increased my reading. A key reason for doing this is because upon reflecting on “activities” that have led to substantial changes in my life, I can’t count one TV show as the catalyst.

I can, however, point to several books. Here are 10 books that have had a profound influence on my life…

10 Books that changed my life

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10 Lessons I Learned While Making My First $1 Million

The last 6 years in business have been transformative for me – both personally and financially. I have never been more fulfilled and purpose-driven than I have been doing what I do. And, as a result of stepping out on faith (it took a huge leap of faith to leave what others thought was a secure lifestyle to delve into the unknown), I’ve learned some powerful lessons. This journey has taken me places that I’ve only dreamed of going, while accomplishing some key milestones along the way.

Folks always ask how I did “it.” Recognizing the importance of paying it forward and sharing what I’ve learned, I managed to synthesize an actionable list of the 10 lessons I learned while making my first $1 million.



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The #1 Social Media Mistake We Make

On March  27th I tweeted this:

Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 2.56.32 PM


24 hours later, I tweeted this:

Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 2.52.17 PM


3 hours later, I received this tweet:

Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 2.53.07 PM


My point is simple.

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Do You Suffer From “Type Hype?”: How To (Really) Find Your Match

Remember the popular, satirical YouTube video called “(Authentic) Black Marriage Negotiations”? Well, if not, to refresh your memory: the wildly popular video featured a computer generated image of a Black woman listing all the things she wanted in a man.

The clip was loathed by the many, but there were some who liked the video. It gained my attention because it tapped into what has been a big issue in my work.

People are often unable to tell values from wants.  Often, these people suffer from “Type Hype.” But, what’s the fix?

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Empowerment Made Simple: 20 Thoughts to Change Your Life

I’ve found that it’s essential to examine your thoughts…often. Your thought-life dictates every single move you make. And, something as simple as a sentence – a really great thought that makes you have an “aha” moment – can change the way you think about your life. Because once you change your thoughts, you change your life.


Here are 20 of my thoughts that have made self-empowerment simple…

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