I scrunch gel (Batia & Aleeza is my current favorite) into soaking wet hair, upside down, while still standing in the shower. I finger comb it through, scrunch in more gel, blot with micro fiber towel, and then scrunch in just a bit more gel, all with my head upside down. Then I diffuser dry, scrunching my hair as I dry, for the first 5 minutes or so, then I stop touching my hair and just move the diffuser around until my hair is about 70% - 80% dry.
I never used to have success applying gel to soaking wet hair, but once I got my technique down (combined with drying, as mentioned above), I've had amazing curl formation.
But like anything else, what works for some, doesn't work for others. (For instance, plopping/plunking does NOT work for me.)