Set up with the ball slightly forward in the stance
Ball position is critical when hitting fairway woods. The ball should be approximately 3 inches inside your left heel. Or stated another way, the ball should be placed about half way between the driver position and the middle of your stance. When considering the swing arc, the slightly forward ball position allows the club head to strike the ball at the bottom of the arc. The descending angle of the fairway wood will strike the ball then take a shallow divot indicating a proper ball strike.
Take a Shallow Divot
Taking a shallow divot is indication that the club head was traveling downward toward the ball before impact. The divot should be shallow, not as deep as striking the ball with an iron. In addition to revealing the club head was in a downward arc prior to the ball strike, the divot also reveals the body was traveling forward at and after the strike. Pure fairway wood shots are executed when the weight is on the front foot prior to the ball strike.
Don't Hang Back
As with all ball strikes, weight must be on the front foot prior to impact. Shifting weight forward when hitting a fairway wood is a little more difficult. Since the fairway woods are longer clubs and the swing is flatter, the tendency is to help the ball get up by slightly lifting the club. Trying to lift the ball is a mistake and usually results in topping the ball and dribbling it down the fairway. Getting to the front foot prior the strike will enable you to hit down with the fairway wood allowing the loft built into the club to project the ball up and forward as designed.