Patient-physician communication is an integral part of clinical practice. When done well, such communication produces a therapeutic effect for the patient, as has been validated in controlled studies. Formal training programs have been created to enhance and measure specific communication skills. Many of these efforts, however, focus on medical schools and early postgraduate years and, therefore, remain isolated in academic settings. Thus, the communication skills of the busy physician often remain poorly developed, and the need for established physicians to become better communicators continues. In this article, the authors briefly review the why and how of effective patient-physician communication. They begin by reviewing current data on the benefits of effective communication in the clinical context of physicians caring for patients. The authors then offer specific guidance on how to achieve effective communication in the patient-physician relationship.