It seems to me that when a bunch of geeks get together, it should be seen as an opportunity to learn. Too often, the procedure is for each person to jump into the "look what I did" game or to stand back and passively listen. I encourage you to not look at "nerd gatherings" as a time to assert your dominance over the crowd or a time to stand back and simply observe; instead, actively try to learn as much as you can. Ask questions; dig into how other people approach problems; find people that have achieved what you would like to achieve, and find out how they got there.
Obviously, "nerd gatherings" aren't the only place that this skill is desirable - but it's a good place to start.