For some kinds of motors, principally motors with terminal-based connections, basic wiring is self evident. The terminal board itself usually has markings that indicate where line one and line two are to be connected. But what if you need to reverse that motor, use a different (but available) voltage setting, or have a motor that has nothing more than a bunch of color-coded or numbered leads coming out of it?
A simple, experimental motor such as this is not capable of making much power. We can increase the turning force (or torque) that the motor can create in three ways: either we can have a more powerful permanent magnet, or we can increase the electric current flowing through the wire, or we can make the coil so it has many "turns" (loops) of very thin wire instead of one "turn" of thick wire. In practice, a motor also has the permanent magnet curved in a circular shape so it almost touches the coil of wire that rotates inside it. The closer together the magnet and the coil, the greater the force the motor can produce.
The first thing you will need to discover is whether you are dealing with a three-phase motor. You may already know this from the application, but another giveaway is that the lead wires of most three-phase motors are single colors, not multiple colors, and usually identified with numbers. If, on the other hand, the motor diameter is less than seven inches and has a terminal board, it is most likely a single-phase motor.
It is important to keep this struggle between performance and cost in mind when you talk to customers about energy-efficient motor-driven equipment. Yes, efficiency is probably more important to homeowners now than ever, but that efficient operation comes at a price. And motor manufacturers will keep working to strike that balance between motor performance, efficiency, and cost.