VIP is an acronym for very important person.
A very important person:
The phrase does not indicate to whom or for what reason the person is important.
The definition for prominent contains the word important too:
- Important; famous:
So they share a semantic field.
The etymology of prominent suggests why important people tend to be given prominent positions: mentally, physically, and organizationally.
mid-15c., "projecting, jutting out,"
from Latin prominentem (nominative prominens) "prominent," present
participle of prominere "jut or stand out, be prominent, overhang,"
from pro- "before, forward" (see pro-) + minere "to project,"
from minae "projections, threats" (see menace (n.)).
Meaning "conspicuous" is from 1759;
that of "notable, leading" is from 1849.
Mentally, the phrase: He puts his pants on one leg at a time is an accommodation for the mental prominence we tend to give important people. Their great accomplishments demonstrate superior power, and that power tends to intimidate, as the threat connotation of the etymology suggests. We try to bring them down a notch in our minds, but the mental intimidation of their prominence remains.
Physically, they sit at the head table at banquets, and abide on the top floor of the corporate headquarters as demonstrations of their importance.
Organizationally they sit at the top of the chart. Every one within the organization is expected to defer to the prominent agenda of the VIPs, who also become the prominent face and persona to everyone outside the organization.
All of that prominence is projected because a person has done something that makes him a very important person in the organization. By extension of the organization's importance, she becomes a very important person in a broader context.
Very important people tend to be very prominent people.