Even though conversationally I love to talk – I am a big believer that in customer project meetings the PM often benefits from talking the least. And for good reasons!
How else do you learn things? The best way to get information on what the customer’s priorities really are, what they think, receive real feedback, and real deadlines… is to pose an open question and then listen. Sure, it’s your responsibility to provide updates on progress – that can be done with reports and graphs and can be brief. Should be a “brief”. Then listen to the response.
It can make your team look larger to the customer. Something learned from working at mid-sized technology vendors (less than $20M revenue) working with their Fortune 500 customers. If diverse voices on the project have an opportunity to talk in a meeting rather than only one voice, then your team can look bigger and stronger. The PMs job is to make sure ahead of time that everyone is on the same page and there are no surprises.
While some PMs seem to think that credibility comes from speaking the most, I find you appear most credible when you speak deliberately and listen more.