1. Start with basic research: The quickest way to induct yourself into basic Chinese is by conducting general research about the language. There are at least thousands of tutorials out there that will teach you about how to get started.
2. Build a strong foundation: you need to know that the steps between boring part and the part where you are able to converse may seem unnecessary. However, they are incredibly important in building a strong foundation for you. Acquaint yourself with sounds and characters so that you can relate to them as you learn about them.
3. Master the grammar: The basis of any language lies in grammar and knowing the rules help you in speaking/writing it correctly. Lucky for you, Chinese grammar is quite simple. Summarize the the rules as you learn and try to incorporate them into your practice sessions.
4. Assess your learning method: The best way to learn any language is to know the method of learning of first. Either you can self-learn, which will obviously take longer; or take help from a professional tutor. However, regardless of what you choose, it is important to know what tools of learning will be available to you in each option.
5. Practice religiously: not using everything you learn is the quickest way to forget it. Rather than wasting your newly acquired skill, it is advisable to use it everyday in one way or another. You can speak, listen, read or write, or choose your own way of practicing.
6. Use it everyday: using Chinese as much as you can in your daily life will make you more comfortable with the language and also make you fluent. Using it everyday will tell you what you need to improve.
7. Set a goal: setting goals is a highly effective way to study. You should measure your progress to stay motivated and know where you need more effort. As a beginner, it is important for you to first strengthen your basics and then move on to more complicated parts of the language.
8. Invest in an exhaustive language program: it is very important to have intensive language study at the beginning, especially if you are learning something as complicated as mandarin. It is not enough to study only a few hours a week if you want to build a solid foundation. An intensive daily program will help you build strong skills and polish what you learn everyday.
9. Find some native speakers: The most effective way to strengthen your language skill is by practicing it with a native speaker. You can also buddy with a student who is also learning the language so that you will less conscious about your beginner skills. However, consider practicing it with locals from time to time.
10. Watch Chinese TV Shows: This is a rookie trick to pick up basics of a language - watch a local TV show. It helps you build your vocabulary and teaches you how to use a word in a sentence. It is also a great way to test your progress away from a classroom. You can also listen to local Chinese music or read Chinese books to get more into the language.
11. Practice in front of a mirror: to speak in Chinese confidently, you not only need to master the tongue but also the body language. Practicing in front of the mirror will help you get rid of awkwardness and allow you to practice your mouth movements and sounds without feeling conscious.
12. Get online: internet has a wealth of information that can help you learn and practice Chinese more closely. You can browse Chinese websites, participate in Chinese social networks or talk to locals.
13. Take standard exams for non-native speaker: want to put your knowledge to test? Take the Mandarin proficiency exam that will test you in listening, composition, reading and comprehension.
14. Live in China: if you can afford to move to the country for a short while or already there for some reason, then learning Chinese in China is the quickest and the most effective way. However, move away from big cities and stay in rural China to learn the language better.
15. Get some study material: whenever you find time, read some Chinese books or magazines to brush up your language skills.
16. Study the beginner material thoroughly: if you want to make rapid progress, then dedicate yourself to at least 30-45 minutes of study everyday. You should thoroughly study the beginner material to get used to the language.
17. Use your dead time productively: traveling through bus or train to work? Use it to practice your Chinese. Do you take your dog for walk? Listen to ChinesePod. Just using all the dead time in your day to learn the language will show you noticeable progress in no time.
18. Set mini goals: going from milestone to milestone is the quickest way to learn anything new. Set tiny goals everyday and try to stick with them. Keep stepping up your targets after every few weeks to increase the levels.
19. Enjoy the process: don't make learning Chinese a tedious thing. If you want to genuinely learn the language and learn it fast, you need to stay interested in it. Enjoying it will make it more sustainable and long-lasting.
20. Don't quit: Chinese is hard and as you progress in your learning, it will get harder. It is very important to stay committed to your learning and not quit. Beginner stage will be frustrating at times but remember why you are doing it in the first place.
21. Practice with friends: use your close friends or partners to practice what you have learnt so far. Find some local Chinese acquaintances or find Chinese roomies. No matter what you do, the objective is to make Chinese a part of your life in whichever way possible.