I’ve only had to solder a couple of SMT chips, and though my attempts have worked out for me, it’s always been a combination of frustration and fear that I’m damaging the IC. John Gammell sent this video to me in response to one of my newbie attempts. In it, he shows how a pro approaches an SMT job using the “vertical drag” method.
It looks like he fixes the IC to the board, applies flux to all the pins, and then quickly drags a bead of solder back and forth over the pins. It’s pretty unbelievable how quickly and precisely he is able to do the job. Impressive stuff.