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.
You will need to use the ohmmeter as an ohmeter and not as a continuity checker for the next step in the procedure. You will want to use the lowest ohm scale your meter offers, as the typical winding resistance in motors such as these is less than 100 ohms. If the motor is a permanent split-capacitor motor, you are going to be looking for common and speed taps of the winding.
Suppose you take a length of ordinary wire, make it into a big loop, and lay it between the poles of a powerful, permanent horseshoe magnet. Now if you connect the two ends of the wire to a battery, the wire will jump up briefly. It is amazing when you see this for the first time. It is just like magic! But there is a perfectly scientific explanation. When an electric current starts to creep along a wire, it creates a magnetic field all around it.
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?