The trick is to spot meter parts of your subject that are close to 18% grey in light reflectance (if you have the time). I also started to use my meter less taking one incident reading an area where my subjects would be and working the exposure compensation for bright sunlight, or shade, this speeds up your reaction time much more, and makes you less dependent on a meter and more on your eyes and brain (you dont have to whip out the meter every shot). Another helpful hint is to meter concrete sidewalks, they are about 18% grey as well.